When New York prosecutors were eventually arrested, former President Donald J. If Trump’s federal tax returns get to check, they’ll discover a truth about how to be wealthy while guiding millions of dollars and pay no income tax.
Whether they find evidence of crimes, however, will also depend on other information not found in the actual returns.
The United States Supreme Court on Monday cleared the way for Manhattan District Attorney, Cyrus. R. Vance Jr., eight years of Mr. Trump’s federal income tax return and receiving other records from his accountants. The decision ended a long-standing legal battle over prosecutors’ access to information.
The New York Times last year provided at least a preview of Mr. Vance’s wait, when he received and analyzed decades of income tax data for Mr. Trump and his companies. The tax records provide an unprecedented and highly detailed look at Mr. Trump’s Byzantine world of finances, which over the years he brags together and demands to be kept secret.
The Times exam revealed that the former president reported hundreds of million dollars in trade losses, went years without paying federal income taxes and faced an Internal Revenue Service audit of a $ 72.9 million tax refund claimed a decade earlier .
Among other things, records showed that Mr. Trump paid just $ 750 in federal income tax in his first year as president and none of the 10 had any income tax in the last 15 years. He also showed that he wrote off $ 26 million in “consulting fees” as a business expense between 2010 and 2018, some of which appear to have been paid to his elder daughter Ivanka Trump, while she was a member of the Trump Organization Were salaried employees.
The legality of the fees, which reduced Mr. Trump’s taxable income, has since become the subject of Mr. Vance’s investigation, as well as a separate civil investigation by Letitia James, New York’s attorney general. Ms. James and Mr. Vance are Democrats, and Mr. Trump has portrayed many inquiries as politically motivated, denying any wrongdoing.
Mr. Vance’s office has released and conducted interviews in recent months as it investigates various financial matters, including whether the Trump Organization has obtained loans or paid property taxes – Also misrepresented the value of the property, plus $ 130,000 in hush money. During the 2016 campaign to Stephanie Clifford, the pornographic film actress whose stage name is Stormy Daniels. Interviewers include employees of Deutsche Bank, one of Mr. Trump’s biggest lenders.
For all his revelations, Mr. Trump’s tax records are also notable for what he does not show, including any new details about payments to Ms. Clifford, which was the initial focus of Mr. Vance’s investigation when it began two years ago .
The tax return represents self-reported accounting of revenue and expenses, and often lacks the specificity needed to know, for example, if legal costs related to hush-money payments form a tax write-off. It was claimed in, or if ever money from Russia. Mr. Trump’s bank accounts went through. The absence of that level of detail underscores the potential value of other records that Mr. Vance used in conjunction with Monday’s Supreme Court ruling.
In addition to the tax returns, Mr. Trump’s accountant, Majors USA, should also prepare business records on which those returns are based and communicate with the Trump Organization. Such material can provide important context and background to decisions that were made by Mr. Trump or his accountants for tax filing.
John D. Fort, former chief.R.s. The Criminal Investigation Division, stated that tax returns were a useful tool to uncover, but only completely additional financial information could be obtained.
“A very important personal financial document, but it’s just one piece of the puzzle,” said Mr. Forte, a CPA and director of investigations with Kostelnitz & Fink in Washington. “You have to follow what you find in the returns with an interview and sub-way.”
Nevertheless, the Times’ investigation of Mr. Trump’s returns revealed a number of misleading claims and lies about his misleading statements and lies that he has publicized about his wealth and business acumen.
Many of Mr. Trump’s claims of liberal philanthropy detract from scrutiny of his tax returns, which raised questions about the amount of some donations and the overall nature of his tax-deductible giving. For example, he claimed $ 119.3 million in charitable deductions made since the year 2005 were the estimated value of his pledge not to develop real estate, sometimes after falling through a planned project.
At least two of those land-based charitable cuts, one related to a golf course in Los Angeles and the other to the Westchester Estate, called Seven Springs, are believed to be part of a civil investigation conducted by Ms. James, who The matter is examining whether tax write-offs that support the assessment were increased.
Broadly speaking, the tax record shows that public disclosures as a candidate and then as president have led to a distorted view of his overall finances by reporting glowing numbers for his golf courses, hotels and other businesses. Introduced the approach. . The real bottom line, after losses and expenses, was very bleak: In 2018, while Mr. Trump’s public filings showed $ 434.9 million in revenue, his tax returns declared a total of $ 47.4 million in losses.
And such a serious number was not an anomaly. Many of Mr. Trump’s golf courses, a key component of his business empire, reported losses of $ 315.6 million from 2000 to 2018, while the proceeds from licensing his name to hotels and resorts all entered the White House Had dried up by the time of In addition, Mr. Trump has hundreds of millions of dollars in loans, most of which he personally guaranteed, coming in the next few years.
The Times investigation also found that he faces a potentially devastating I.R.s. The audit focused on the massive refunds claimed in 2010, which covered all federal income taxes paid from 2005 to 2008, plus interest. Mr. Trump repeatedly cited ongoing audits because of the reason he could not release his tax returns, he said initially, even though nothing about the audit process did not stop him from doing so.
If one occurred.R.s. With the ruling eventually going against him, Mr. Trump could be forced to pay more than $ 100 million, in addition to factoring in interest and potential penalties, in addition to some $ 21.2 million in state and local tax refunds that his The filings were based on data in the federal.
Ras Battner And Susan Craig Contributed to reporting.