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Students Question if they Pay More in Taxes than Trump

By Juliana Walter 

President Donald Trump has paid less taxes in the past decade than some students at The University of Tampa, based on news reports in the last week.

The New York Times broke news earlier last week that President Trump only paid $750 in federal income tax for both 2016 and 2017. And for the past 10 out of 15 years before this, the President had paid no federal income tax at all. So, how could one of the richest men in the world get away with paying less taxes than a college student?

Christopher Janak, senior cyber security major at UT, was one of these students who paid significantly more federal income tax than the President, despite being a full-time student. Janak said he paid nearly $8,000 in federal income tax in 2019.

“For tax year 2019, I had a [full-time] summer IT internship in New York City,” said Janak. “I also worked five to 10 hours a week on the side for a Property Maintenance company to make some extra cash in the summer. Then throughout the school year I worked part time for UT’s Media Services.”

Janak estimated that he made over $20,000 in the 2019 tax year. While The New York Times reported that President Trump went into the red for the year 2017, in the annual disclosure the President is required to give, he reported he made at least $434.9 million.

But not all college students paid more than Trump in taxes since students who earn an income less than $12,200 a year are not required to file taxes. Kimberly Giangrasso, junior political science major, paid $621 in federal income tax for the 2019 tax year.

Giangrasso worked as a counter assistant at Pennington Bagel in her hometown of Pennington, New Jersey. For 2019, Giangrasso estimates that she made around $6,300.

“I find it perplexing that a man who is considered one of the wealthiest men in the country has paid only $129 more than me in income tax,” said Giangrasso.

Many students feel the same way as Giangrasso, that they should not be paying more than the multimillionaire President. But for students like Janak, this news is not surprising at all.

“When President Trump’s taxes came out, I was not surprised because I am semi-familiar with tax laws,” said Janak. “He owns many businesses; therefore, he gets lots of tax write offs and exceptions. Also, he lives in most of his “businesses,” aka hotels, so it would be a tax write off.”

“All I see is a lot of people complaining that they spent more on taxes than he has and it’s not fair to them, but honestly they just don’t know the tax laws,” said Janak. “Every other wealthy person in the U.S. does the same thing. People should be upset at the laws that allow it to legally happen rather than the individuals who want to pay less money.”

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