Gary Cohn may get tax benefit if he unloads his $207 million Goldman stake

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Gary Cohn owns more than 870,000 Goldman shares outright and may decide to sell to avoid a conflict of interest.

A Goldman Sachs executive who Donald Trump will appoint as a key economic advisor may get tax help if he unloads his stake in the company to avoid conflicts of interest.

The president-elect has chosen Gary Cohn, Goldman's 56-year-old president and chief operating officer, for the directorship of the National Economic Council and assistant to the president for economic policy.

The National Economic Council is part of the executive branch. Under a federal provision, executive branch members who sell stock to avoid a conflict of interest can defer paying capital gains tax and put the proceeds into government bonds and other more diversified investments, according to Internal Revenue Code.

Cohn owns about 872,712 Goldman shares, according to filings, and he may decide to sell to avoid a conflict of interest. His shares were worth $237.17 at Monday's close, or nearly $207 million.

Cohn may be able to defer the tax until later if he unloads the stock. Cohn also owns shares through trusts and other mechanisms, but is unclear how those would be treated under tax law.

Goldman shares had soared more than 30 percent since Trump's election as of Friday, partly on a reaction to his proposals to roll back financial regulations.

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