Hidden in the many hundreds of pages of dense tax text in the House Republican bill is one really great proposal: to get rid of the “like-kind exchange” rules. For decades, these rules have allowed qualifying taxpayers to avoid reporting gains from qualifying exchanges. There has never been any sound policy justification for what is an incredibly generous give-away: it was bought and paid for by campaign contributions. Finally, if the House Republicans get their way, it’s going to bite the dust.
With one exception. Donald Trump and other real estate developers will continue to be given the benefit of the rule. As a result, with a bit of planning Donald Trump will never have to pay US income tax on any of the gains from his investments. You will have to. I will have to. He won’t.
Again, there is no sound policy justification for not repealing the provision altogether. The reason real estate is exempted from the repeal is simple. Donald Trump is President. He would undoubtedly veto a full repeal. You and I have no such power.