United States of America

Key points from the NYT investigation accusing Donald Trump of massive tax evasion


By added on 04/10/2018

Donald Trump seems to be in and out of hot water more times than most of us have hot dinners. The president moves from controversy to controversy with barely a pause for breath and now his finances – always a controversial topic because he did not disclose his tax returns during the election campaign – are back in the spotlight.

The 14,000 word investigation carried out by the New York Times is a comprehensive expose of Mr Trump’s finances, including how his father made him a millionaire by the time he was eight. It has looked at how money was moved around Trump family businesses and how inheritance taxes were paid. Between the Times reporting, legal cases against two of his closest confidantes, an FBI inquiry and the sex harassment allegations surrounding his Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, the president’s troubles are mounting.

What did the New York Times find?

After combing through 100,000 pages of financial documents, the publication printed that through a series of complicated tax manoeuvres and investments, the Trump empire flourished on tax dodges. The New York Times alleges that President Trump received the equivalent in today’s money of at least $413 million dollars from his father – which places his self-made-man story heavily in dispute. Five key points in the NY Times investigation Mr Trump was a millionaire by the time he was eight years old.

 By the age of three, Donald Trump was earning $200,000 a year in today’s dollars from his father’s empire.  In his 40s and 50s, he was receiving more than $5 million a year from Fred Trump. Trump received $60.7m, not $1m, from his father. The $1m figure is the number President Trump said he received from his dad which allowed him to start his empire. The Trump version of the story is he repaid the money with interest.

Fred Trump’s gift to his to his son is worth $140 million in today’s money. Much of it was never repaid. The Trumps turned an $11 million loan debt into a legally questionable tax write-off.  The move appears to violate federal tax law.

Between 1989 and 1992, four of the entities that Fred Trump created paid his son today’s equivalent of $8.3 million, allowing him to avoid the collapse of his businesses. Donald Trump received $177.3 million when his father died – or $236.2 million in today’s dollars. The money avoided the 55 per cent tax rate usually imposed on gifts and inheritances, with the Trumps only paying 5 per cent in inheritance tax.

What the family has said “Our dear father, Fred C. Trump, passed away in June 1999,” said the brother of the president, Robert Trump. “Our beloved mother, Mary Anne Trump, passed away in August 2000. All appropriate gift and estate tax returns were filed, and the required taxes were paid. “Our father’s estate was closed in 2001 by both the Internal Revenue Service and the New York State tax authorities, and our mother’s estate was closed in 2004. “Our family has no other comment on these matters that happened some 20 years ago, and would appreciate your respecting the privacy of our deceased parents, may God rest their souls.”

Although the president has been contacted several times, he refused to pass comment. Mr. Harder, the president’s lawyer, did comment on the findings, however. “Should The Times state or imply that President Trump participated in fraud, tax evasion or any other crime, it will be exposing itself to substantial liability and damages for defamation.”

And White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told CNN: “Many decades ago the IRS reviewed and signed off on these transactions. “The New York Times’ and other media outlets’ credibility with the American people is at an all-time low because they are consumed with attacking the president and his family 24/7 instead of reporting the news.”

Trump and his tax returns Trump’s lack of financial transparency has long been in disrepute. He is the first major party presidential candidate and the first president not to release any of his returns in the modern era. However, according to Sarah Saunders, the wait to see the president’s accounts will be over in a matter of days. “The president filed an extension for his 2017 tax return, as do many Americans with complex returns,” Sanders said in a statement. “He will file his tax return by the extension deadline of October 15, 2018.”