Why The New York Times TL;DR'd its own 14218-word Trump investigation


03 October, 2018

The alleged family tax avoidance strategies included a "sham corporation" created to funnel money from Fred Trump to his children, fraudulent tax deductions, and misreporting the value of family wealth and properties, according to The Times.

US President Donald Trump engaged in tax schemes that included cases of fraud in which he and his siblings helped their parents dodge taxes, the New York Times is reporting, citing more than 200 tax returns it has obtained.

The New York State Tax Department of Taxation and Finance told the BBC it is "reviewing the allegations in the New York Times article and is vigorously pursuing all appropriate avenues of investigation".

Trump, who has long claimed to be a self-made billionaire, along with his siblings, allegedly helped hide millions in gifts from their parents using fake corporations to hide the money, according to a report in The New York Times.

Trump has routinely spun the by-the-bootstraps story that he turned a $1 million loan into a multibillion-dollar empire, as the Times notes. During the campaign, the then-candidate broke with presidential election norms and refused to produce his tax returns for public review.

He said the affairs "were handled by other Trump family members who were not experts themselves", and who had relied on tax professionals.

Harder, the White House, and the Trump Organisation did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

The findings of "dubious" practices by the Times were based on a "vast" amount of tax returns and financial records, according to the report.

The Times said Trump's tax-hating father used "relentless and creative" ways to funnel his wealth to his children and shield it from the Internal Revenue Service.

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When the elder Trump transferred his business to his children, the Trump kids valued a collection of buildings they'd received at $41.4 million.

"The investigation also draws on tens of thousands of pages of confidential records - bank statements, financial audits, accounting ledgers, cash disbursement reports, invoices and canceled checks", it said.

The report said Trump himself received the equivalent of $413 million in today's dollars.

"There was no fraud or tax evasion by anyone", he said in a statement.

"The theme I see here through all of this is valuations: They play around with valuations in extreme ways", a University of Florida professor and tax law expert, Lee-Ford Tritt, told The Times. The paper says it found that Fred Trump loaned his son the equivalent to $140m in today's money - much of which was not repaid.

That the president's deceased parents Fred and Mary Trump transferred more than $1bn to their children.

State tax authorities have already been investigating Trump's charity, the Trump Foundation.

The Trumps' appraiser, Robert von Ancken, concluded at the time that a portfolio of 25 apartment complexes and other properties were worth $93.9 million.

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