When Ivana Trump, Donald Trump’s first wife, was buried last month near the first hole of Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, few immediately guessed that her grave’s location might also serve her ex-husband’s long-held tax planning purposes.
Tax code in New Jersey exempts cemetery land from all taxes, rates, and assessments – and her grave, as such, potentially has advantageous tax implications for a Trump family trust that owns the golf business, in a state where property and land taxes are notoriously high.
According to documents published by ProPublica, the Trump family trust previously sought to designate a nearby property in Hackettstown, New Jersey, as a non-profit cemetery company.
But Ivana Trump, who died earlier this month at 73 after a fall at her home in New York City’s Manhattan, is the first person known to have been buried at the golf course, where Donald Trump and his family spend a lot of time in the summers.
Under New Jersey’s tax code, cemetery companies are not only exempt from real estate taxes, rates, and assessments or personal property taxes, but also business taxes, sales taxes, income taxes, and inheritance taxes, according to Insider.
Brooke Harrington, a professor of sociology at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, tweeted on Saturday that she had looked into claims that Ivana Trump’s resting-place might also benefit her ex-husband’s tax planning from beyond the grave.
“As a tax researcher, I was skeptical of rumors Trump buried his ex-wife in that sad little plot of dirt on his Bedminster, NJ golf course just for tax breaks. So I checked the NJ tax code & folks…it’s a trifecta of tax avoidance. Property, income & sales tax, all eliminated,” Harrington wrote, after opinions accusing Trump of being primarily motivated by the possibility of a tax break began popping up on social media.
Harrington later tweeted the full New Jersey tax code for cemetery land. While there is no stipulation for the amount of human remains necessary in order to qualify for the break, sales of wreaths, larger evergreen arrangements, flowers and other similar items are taxable.
While saying she was surprised about the tax suggestions she also accused Donald Trump of burying his wife in “little more than a pauper’s grave” and as a result disgracing the three children they had together, Ivanka, Don Jr and Eric.