Twitter law prof talk on Trump and taxes has been robust in the wake of publication by the October 2, 2018 publication by the New York Times of an extensive story on the Trump family's long history of complex intra-family wealth transfers. Here are some links to law prof commentary that has appeared in more traditional venues:
Goldburn Maynard, Jr. (Louisville) published an op-ed for TheHill.com: Trump's Taxes and You: Five Questions Answered (Oct. 7, 2018), including this excerpt:
Are all wealthy people doing this?
Yes and no. Wealthy individuals like Warren Buffet and Bill Gates will also avoid the estate tax in a perfectly ordinary way: giving their money away to charity. Any wealthy person can avail themselves of this opportunity.
On the other hand, estate planning schemes are well known, and a substantial number of wealthy families utilize them. This creates a two-tiered system where the super-wealthy and those who are more sophisticated engage in the most aggressive planning. The less sophisticated or unaware then tend to pay a much higher effective tax rate.
Will electing Democrats in November make a difference?
Not necessarily. These schemes and loopholes have been around for decades and have been well known to experts and legislators. This covers time periods where both parties were in power. Lest we forget, there are wealthy donors of all political stripes.
Jennifer Bird-Pollan (Kentucky) appeared on WHYY's RadioTimes show (Oct. 9. 2018) on the "Trump Family Tax Schemes." Audio + a transcript of the show are here.
Dan Shaviro (NYU) and I had a few comments for NPR's Jim Zarroli here (Oct. 3 2018).
My guess is that this story will inspire additional follow-ups and stories. Talk to your local tax prof for the latest hot take!