Trump gained from questionable tax strategies

posted by BY BRETT SAMUELS - 

President Trump participated in "dubious" tax strategies in the 1990s that allowed him to accrue millions of dollars in additional wealth from his father's real estate empire, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

The newspaper reported that Trump and his siblings set up a "sham" corporation to help disguise otherwise taxable income that came from gifts from their parents.

Trump's parents left more than $1 billion to their children, which would have resulted in a roughly $550 million tax bill at the time, The Times reported. However, the Trumps paid a total of $52.2 million on that source of income.

The newspaper cited records that showed Trump helped undervalue his father's real estate holdings, which led to a lower tax bill when he and his siblings inherited the properties.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reportedly provided little pushback against the Trumps' tactics.

In total, the Times found that Trump received the equivalent of $413 million based on the questionable tax dealings. The newspaper wrote that Trump's behavior amounted to fraud in some cases.

Trump declined to comment to the Times for the story, and the White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

The Times interviewed former employees and advisers to Trump’s father, and reviewed more than 100,000 pages of documents related to the Trump family business, including bank statements, financial audits and invoices.

Charles Harder, an attorney for the president, said in a statement to The New York Times that allegations of tax evasion are “100 percent false,” adding that Trump “had virtually no involvement” with the tax strategies used by his family, and instead delegated those tasks to others. 

Harder went on to imply that the newspaper would face a defamation lawsuit if it suggested Trump participated in a fraudulent tax scheme.

The president's brother, Robert, issued a statement to the Times on behalf of the family that did not directly comment on reports of questionable tax practices.

Robert Trump said his father's estate was closed in 2001 by the IRS, and that his mother's account was closed in 2004.

"All appropriate gift and estate tax returns were filed, and the required taxes were paid," he said.

Trump drew criticism during the 2016 presidential campaign for his refusal to release his tax returns. The decision marked a break with tradition from presidential candidates dating back decades.

The president's broader financial dealings have come under scrutiny as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, and as his former attorney, Michael Cohen, faces legal woes.

The special counsel's office has reportedly asked about Trump's past financial dealings in Russia, while prosecutors have said that Cohen falsified invoice statements while working for the Trump Organization.

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