Trump tax plan would aid Wall St. despite closing loophole

October 11, 2016 1:30 PM EDT

Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump is seen during his presidential town hall debate against Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton (not shown) at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/

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By David Morgan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump reiterated his promise in Sunday's debate to kill the "carried interest" tax loophole that benefits hedge fund managers and others - but his tax plan offers other goodies for Wall Street, a nonpartisan tax research group said on Tuesday.

Trump and Democratic rival Hillary Clinton's tax plans differ like mirror images, especially when it comes to how they treat investment fund managers and other wealthy Americans, according to separate reports by the Tax Policy Center.

Trump's tax plan would reduce federal tax revenues by $6.2 trillion over a decade, with about three-quarters of the decrease coming from lower business taxes, the center said. Those with incomes in the top 0.1 percent would see an average tax cut of nearly $1.1 million.

Clinton would raise revenue by $1.4 trillion almost entirely through higher taxes on the wealthy, including a 4 percent surcharge on those with incomes of more than $5 million.

The Clinton campaign said the analysis showed she would require "the wealthy, Wall Street and large corporations to pay their fair share."

The Trump campaign denounced it as "a fraudulent analysis" plagued by software problems.

The Wall Street carried interest loophole allows financial managers at private equity, hedge fund and other qualifying firms to pay a capital gains tax rate on their income instead of the higher income tax rate.

Clinton would close the loophole with no compensating benefits for those hit, the center said.

Under Trump's proposal, the center said hedge funds and private equity partnerships would qualify for a special 15 percent business tax rate, depending on their size, the center said. That would be well below Trump's proposed top income tax rate of 33 percent and less than the 23.8 percent rate that funds now pay under carried interest rules.

"Literally, he is getting rid of carried interest," said Eric Toder, co-director of the center, which is a collaboration of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution.

"The question is what else is there in the plan that affects hedge funds, and the reduction in the business income tax rate to 15 percent gives them a much better deal," Toder said.

Large investment fund managers would lose any advantage because the Trump plan would subject them to an additional 20 percent dividend tax, the center said. Analysts said Trump had not said what constitutes a large business.

"Our plan has explicit safeguards to keep hedge funds from abusing the business rate - it's Hillary who plans secret benefits for Wall Street, not us," Trump national policy director Stephen Miller said in a statement.

(Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Peter Cooney)

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