Spin seems to be ever more important with news stories these days. For example, word has come out over the last week New York state tax officials have opened an investigation into the Trump Foundation to determine whether the charity violated state law. That is the fact, but it can result in two different stories depending on the spin. Is this another arrow in the quiver to attack the president, just another piece of evidence about his sordid nature? Or is this another attempt to bring down the president by those who are ever against him, but can never fully prove anything and get something to stick?
The narrative one prefers to follow largely determines how the story looks. For the Foundation itself, though, things are going to be much more black and white. There are rules that it is required to follow in its operation. If it followed them, nothing will come of the investigation. If it did not, issues will arise. Our current political world may not be so clear, but any business should be run under strict parameters.
This is something we often see here when it comes to tax issues. There are stories about how certain people know how to use the tax system in mysterious ways that help them buck the system and leads to benefits that not everyone can either qualify for or know how to benefit from. And frankly, that’s just not true.
Sure, there are people – and this is often people with a lot of money – who have really good tax planning, know how to use the rules to their advantage, and maybe come out of it paying less in taxes than some believe they should. Now there are debates to be had on that last part about just what one’s obligation should be, but I do not believe that anyone can be faulted for working the established rules to their greatest advantage.
Those rules, though, are known. They are public. There are no secrets, and problems only arise when one tries to work against the rules or fudge something to get around them.
This is also something that comes up with business owners. No one in charge of such a venture wants to look at numbers that say they are not doing well. Looking like you are doing well can not only an advantage to one’s wallet, but also helps with any partners, looking for funding, etc.
If those numbers not only look good, but are not real and legitimate, then one should reap the benefits that can come with it. If numbers have been fudged to make things look better than they are, however, that just means you can’t justify yourself when it’s time to back them up.
When it comes to finances, spin is not something that should be used. We are dealing with numbers and laws in these situations, after all, which most often lead to definite answers. There are many things one can do to turn things to your advantage, but you should not seek advantage by trying to buck the system. Keep the difference between theory and reality in mind. Fight for what you want, but what you want to be is not always what is.
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