The ‘Trump effect’ on the tax shelter industry

Tax planners and tax shelter promoters are finding a new wave of prospective client inquiries this year and the market shift has been dubbed “Trump effect”. Basically, people want to know how to pay no tax like Trump and the ultra-rich friends that they might have heard about. They typically have some incomplete notion about tax shelters. So they actually want to hire me to tell them how to do that in an hour consultation. It’s a bit bizarre from the accountant’s perspective and so it draws significant comment and discussion.

I posed a query on an accountant’s forum that was met with a response that it should be removed as too political! I responded in  manner stronger than my usual style:

“Are we really so over-sensitive that any mention of the president elect’s name or impact on the tax field will draw a comment that the thread should be deleted? Come on! We need to gain some sense of reality here. He is the president elect! He will be influencing tax policy. We (our entire profession) has always considered the possibilities of what a new president’s administration will and will not have on our clients’ tax situation. It is fair and reasonable to say that this president’s impact will be at least as much as any of his recent predecessor’s. Recall that some here on this forum were offended by my use of the term “Obamacare” in an advertised webinar for accountants until I pointed out that the title of the webinar had actually been chosen by my state CPA association and I was just the quest speaker after it was announced. (I wouldn’t have used the term at that time due to the public controversy). So I hope this too shall pass so that we can get back to discussing the important tax issues that affect our clients.”

We experienced some of this type of heat within the accounting profession after passage of Obamacare but this Trump effect on tax planning and tax shelters could turn out to be much more controversial. I’m afraid, being a person who specializes in health care planning and income tax planning that I’ll be on the hot seat again!


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