The former president of the United States Donald Trump paid just $700 in federal taxes last year for his Bedminster golf resort in New Jersey. Trump, who has been fighting tooth and nail to keep his tax return a secret, appeared to have found a nice way to avoid the hefty property taxes. And it’s not some complicated tax accounting or something.
According to the latest reports, the former president occasionally invites goats to his golf courses to chew down the grass in Bedminster. The expansive golf resort was acquired by Trump back in 2002. By inviting goats to chew the grass, Trump could now claim farmland assessment reduction, a strategy used to reduce property taxes in the state.
The move may have saved the former president up to $3 million in taxes. According to tax records dating back to 2017, the expansive resort is divided into two. The first one is a 244-acre golf course which is members only. The second one is a 119-acre farm which is tended to by the goats. These documents also show that in 2020, Trump paid about $400,000 in taxes for his entire golf resort.
That represents a very small percentage of the value of the property, which at the moment is valued at around $30 million. As for the 119-acre farmland, the former president paid only $700 in taxes. However, if indeed the farm was bundled together with the golf resort, it would have attracted more taxes that would have amounted to about $200,000 a year.
It’s not the first time Trump is making news for avoiding taxes. The former president is known to craft out a series of strategies that have allowed him to pay as little tax as possible on his properties. But cost-cutting measures do not end there. It was also reported a few months back that the former president has on many occasions hired undocumented immigrants as part of saving money on labor costs.
However, it's not just Trump who has used the farmland tax assessment reduction. Although the program was designed to help needy farmers, wealthy landowners appear to be taking advantage of it in an effort to avoid taxes.
According to the Bedminster Tax Assessor, there are over 300 residents in the area who are using the program to help offset taxes on large swathes of land that they own. To qualify for the program, at least 5 acres of land under ownership must be dedicated towards farming activity. The law does not specify what farming activities qualify.
This, therefore, means that a simple act of bringing goats to graze now and then could easily allow large landowners to claim tax relief under the program. According to reports, Trump claimed the farmland tax break right from day one, meaning that the former president had no intention whatsoever of paying the required taxes on his massive golf course.