Did Trump Use Ivana’s Grave for Tax Breaks? He’s Trying.


Ivana Trump died on July 14, 2022, from an accidental fall in her Manhattan residence.

The Czech-American businessperson, media personality, socialite, fashion designer, author, and model lived in Canada prior to 1977 when she married Donald Trump and relocated to the U.S.

Ivana Trump was buried following her July 20th funeral at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. Her grave is marked with a wreath of white flowers and an engraved granite stone in a plot close to the first tee of the golf course.

Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, where Ivana Trump was buried last month. Photograph: Seth Wenig/AP

Shortly after the burial, land-use and tax experts were quick to point out how Ivana Trump’s resting place could benefit her ex-husband’s tax planning from beyond the grave.

Brooke Harrington, professor of sociology at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, tweeted Saturday about her skepticism surrounding Ivana’s resting place.

“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.” – Tweet, @EBHarrington.

Under New Jersey law cemetery companies are not only exempt from real estate taxes, rates, and assessments or personal property taxes, but also from business, sales, income, and inheritance taxes.

Click to view pdf.

The Trump family trust has previously sought to designate a nearby Hackettstown, NJ property as a cemetery company, and has a long, documented history of planning the same for the Trump National Golf Course in Bedminster.

While Ivana is the first person to be buried at the course, the Trump family trust has filed papers, a 990-EZ form – Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax – which means the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, is technically acting as a cemetery company.

In 2012, NPR reported under the headline “Fairway to Heaven” that Trump planned to build a mausoleum to himself on the Bedminster property, prompting local objections.

That proposal was later amended to a cemetery that could hold 1,000 graves. Shortly thereafter the proposal was abandoned and replaced with a plan for a “10-plot private family cemetery,” then changed again to a proposal for a 284-plot commercial cemetery.

Trump doesn’t seem to have made up his mind on just exactly how he’s going to get a tax break for his Bedminster golf course, but he’s been working at it for a long time.

However, the course is too large to be completely designated as a “cemetery company” and given there is only one grave Trump will likely have to settle for a partial tax break for now.

More updates to come.

Last week the Trump National Golf Course faced protests over holding the Saudi-backed LIV golf tournament...read more.

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