Authorities in New York are “vigorously pursuing” allegations in a New York Times article that President Donald Trump committed tax fraud in order to increase the fortune he inherited from his father.
The Times reported that Trump received today’s equivalent of at least $413 million from his father, the real estate magnate Fred Trump, much of which was accumulated through various tax-dodging schemes. Trump and his siblings reportedly set up sham corporations to disguise millions in gifts, helped their father take improper tax deductions and undervalued their parents’ real estate holdings.
In total, Trump’s parents transferred over $1 billion to their children, which could have produced a tax bill worth approximately $500 million under the rate of gifts and inheritances at the time. However, the Trumps only paid about five percent in taxes, totaling $52.2 million.
While the statute of limitations has run out on most of the allegations of fraud contained in the Times report, civil fines could still be imposed. Per Buzzfeed, a spokesperson for New York’s Department of Taxation and Finance said the department was “reviewing the allegations in the NYT article and is vigorously pursuing all appropriate avenues of investigation.”
The Internal Revenue Service, however, declined to comment, noting their policy of neither confirming nor commenting on individual’s cases.
The Times story marks one of the most significant investigations into Trump’s wealth. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump infamously broke with decades of tradition and refused to release his tax returns, while he simultaneously touted himself as a self-made businessman who received little help from his family.
While Trump declined to speak to The Times about their investigation, the president’s brother, Robert Trump, shared a statement on behalf of the family in which he claimed, “All appropriate gift and estate tax returns were filed, and the required taxes were paid.” Meanwhile, Trump’s lawyer, Charles Harder, said the “allegations of fraud and tax evasion are 100 percent false, and highly defamatory.”
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders issued a statement as well, though it did not refute any of the claims in the report, and instead attacked The Times and other media outlets.