A crushing New York Times exposé into the family wealth of Donald Trump recently brought to light the possibility that the US president’s family used shady methods to dodge tax – some of which might have been illegal. Now, a tax expert has weighed in on the matter. And he suspects that the allegations, if true, could lead to legal proceedings.
Tax avoidance and possible fraud
On 3 October, The Canary reported on a New York Times in-depth investigation into the transfer of wealth from Fred Trump to his son Donald and other children. The article reports that Donald received hundreds of millions of dollars from his father beginning when he was a toddler – exploding his claim to be a ‘self-made man’. It also alleges that, in doing so, the Trump family used various tax-avoidance methods to minimize their tax bill and maximize the payout to the next generation. And while some of the alleged methods may be basic and above-board ‘estate planning‘, others could constitute fraud of various varieties.
As The Canary pointed out on 5 October, the alleged revelations sparked outrage and mockery on social media. Elected representatives like New York City mayor Bill de Blasio expressed a wish to recoup any tax money that the Trump family might have illegally evaded. Though the accusations have not been proven, the Department of Taxation and Finance considered them credible enough to launch an investigation.
The statute of limitations has passed for criminal prosecution over the allegations. But there is no such limitation for civil prosecution. And this leaves open the possibility that Trump and/or some of his other family members could face trial and penalization if they’re guilty of the alleged infractions.
Expert opinion from a tax analyst
While the official probe is ongoing, The Canary spoke with author, certified public accountant, and tax analyst Kenneth Boyd. He has published an extensive and detailed analysis of the allegations. The report goes through each of them and explains the implications and possible repercussions in layman’s terms. The various kinds of fraud for which Trump could face charges, using the New York Times article as a guide, include:
- Tax fraud.
- Securities fraud.
- Gift tax fraud.
- Loans fraud.
- Appraisal fraud.
- Estate tax fraud.
- Expense reports fraud.
“Serious cases of illegal tax fraud”?
Speaking to The Canary about the allegations, Boyd insisted that:
Some of them, if true, could be serious cases of illegal tax fraud.
He also said added that US tax authorities (the IRS) are likely to take the allegations very seriously, stating:
From my perspective as a qualified accountant, the stories summarized in my article would be viewed very unfavorably by the IRS – if they are indeed true.
And based on the information available so far, he concluded:
There appears to be a clear trend of tax avoidance over the years using a variety of schemes.
Boyd’s analysis included the following infographic:
Trump running scared
Though Trump and the minions in his administration have attempted to dismiss the allegations as poppycock, actual experts and regulatory bodies clearly feel differently. If true, the allegations would expose Trump as not just a pathological liar, but also a criminal with brazen disregard for the law – not to mention any sense of social responsibility.
Hopefully, prosecutors will spare no expense in getting to the bottom of the matter. And if the charges turn out to be true, they should show no leniency in sentencing.
Featured image via Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons
- Kenneth Boyd’s full report can be viewed here.
- Donate and subscribe to the Tax Justice Network. For US readers, get involved with Tax Justice Network USA.
- For information on truly progressive candidates in the US, see Our Revolution and Justice Democrats. If you’re a US resident, you can also join and participate in the activities of the Democratic Socialists of America.
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