A bombshell news report by New York Times, one of the world’s most credible newspapers says that the current U.S. President Donald Trump came to gain his immense wealth not by dint of shrewd business acumen and hard-work but through inheritance and elaborate tax evasion.
Donald Trump engaged in "dubious tax schemes", including cases of fraud in which he and his siblings helped their parents dodge taxes in 1990s, the New York Times reported on Tuesday, citing more than 200 tax returns it has obtained. The report says that much of Trump’s fortune came to him because he helped his parents evade taxes, including setting up a sham corporation with his siblings to disguise millions of dollars in gifts from their parents.
"[Donald Trump] 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," the newspaper reported, adding that "these maneuvers [were] met with little resistance from the Internal Revenue Service".
During his election campaign while he was running for president, Donald Trump pressed the narrative that he was given just $1 million from his father who was a successful real estate mogul and built his current business empire from that. But the New York Times report said Trump received at least $413 million in today’s dollars from his father. “I built what I built myself,” the president has repeatedly said.
But the New York Times’s investigation makes clear that in every era of Mr. Trump’s life, his finances were deeply entwined with, and dependent on, his father’s wealth. By age 3, he was earning $200,000 a year in today’s dollars from his father’s empire. He was a millionaire by age 8. In his 40s and 50s, he was receiving more than $5 million a year.
The U.S. tax enforcement agency – the Internal Revenue Service commonly known as the IRS, according to the Times, didn’t really notice these elaborate measures. Trump’s parents transferred more than $1 billion to their children and paid about $52.2 million in taxes. Given the relevant tax rates on gifts and inheritances, they should have paid about $550 million — 10 times more.
The U.S. president's current net worth stands at $3.1 billion, down from $4.5 billion in 2015, Forbes said. Trump was the 248th wealthiest person in America on Forbes' 2017 list.
According to an analyst on CNN, the New York Times story has painted the story in black in white of immense inherited wealth multiplied exponentially through corrupt means.
However, Trump's lawyer, told the New York Times that "President Trump had virtually no involvement whatsoever with these matters." Harder added: "The affairs were handled by other Trump family members who were not experts themselves and therefore relied entirely upon the aforementioned licensed professionals to ensure full compliance with the law."
Donald Trump is the first U.S. president in decades to have not released his tax returns to the public during or after his election campaign. He has in fact claimed that he has always been smart about his taxes and exploited tax loopholes. However, the report by New York Times which was undertaken for over a year and half says that Trump’s action were not just working the legal loopholes but rather acting illegally. The U.S. President is yet to react to this report.