New York Times: Trump and Suspect Tax Schemes

At first glance, an investigative New York Times report on Donald Trump’s participation in a long list of questionable tax schemes before he was president seems to have little to do with globalization and the world at large. Not so long ago, the United States was regarded, not simply as a superpower but as a moral leader and model for democratic governance including fair taxation. Today the country reports growing debt with no plans for reduction in sight. Inequality is growing. The United States risks losing the ability to care for its most vulnerable citizens or come to the aid of other countries during time of need. Trump, the first US president to refuse release of his tax returns, is distracted on many fronts. The rest of the world has more insight into the character of the man with whom they must work. – YaleGlobal

New York Times: Trump and Suspect Tax Schemes

Trump presents himself as a self-made billionaire, but he received at least $413 million from his father’s real estate empire, much through tax dodges
David Barstow, Susanne Craig and Russ Buettner
Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Read the article from the New York Times about the Trump’s family efforts to avoid taxes.

The report is based on more than 100,000 pages of documents, former employees of Trump’s father and public records:  Trump “helped his parents dodge taxes. He and his siblings set up a sham corporation to disguise millions of dollars in gifts from their parents, records and interviews show. Records indicate that Mr. Trump helped his father take improper tax deductions worth millions more. He also helped formulate a strategy to undervalue his parents’ real estate holdings by hundreds of millions of dollars on tax returns, sharply reducing the tax bill when those properties were transferred to him and his siblings.”

David Barstow, a senior writer at The New York Times, is a winner of three Pulitzer Prizes. Susanne Craig is an investigative reporter who writes about the intersection of politics, money and government. She has covered Wall Street for The Times and has served as Albany bureau chief. Russ Buettner is an investigative reporter for The New York Times’s Metro Desk. He has been reporting on the New York City region since 1992. He joined the Times in 2006. Kitty Bennett contributed research.

Also read “Estate and Inheritance Taxes Around the World” by Alan Cole and the Tax Foundation:

  • The US estate tax has a high rate and a large exemption; as a result, it raises little revenue and applies to few households.
  • US estate tax receipts have declined over the last 15 years, from $38 billion (2015 dollars) in 2001 to an estimated $20 billion in 2015.
  • As estate taxes become narrow-based, meager revenue sources with high administrative costs, repeal becomes an option. Thirteen countries or jurisdictions have repealed their estate or inheritance taxes since 2000.

The statute of limitations may have passed, but the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance is reported to be reviewing the allegations.

© 2018 The New York Times Company