Unanswered questions about Trump’s tax returns

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After years of legal battles, pontificating and demonstrations, President Donald Trump’s tax returns from 2015 to 2020 are now part of the public record. Many critics and political opponents have argued that Trump was against releasing his tax returns to the public because they could provide evidence of illegal or political activity.

It is not clear whether they will.

However, Trump’s tax returns have raised many questions about the former president’s finances, his businesses, foreign relations and his charitable donations, among other issues.

Trump broke with decades of tradition by becoming the first president-elect since Nixon to refuse to release his tax returns to the public. The Trump for many years is confidential, and took the battle to the Supreme Court – a legal battle. ended up losing.

He repeatedly said in 2016 as president that he could not release his tax returns because they were being audited, a claim that was confirmed last week when the House Ways and Means Committee revealed that Trump’s tax returns in the 2015 and 2016 were not tested until 2019.

For now, the thousands of pages of documents offer only some questions about Trump’s finances, and may offer opportunities for new research.

Trump reported having offshore accounts, including a bank in China between 2015 and 2017, on his tax returns.

The tax returns do not indicate what the bank account was used for or how much money was transferred to it or to whom. . The New York Times first reported on Trump’s Chinese account in 2020, and Trump Organization attorney Alan Garten told the Times that the account was used to pay taxes on the business of Trump International Hotels Management in the country.

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Trump did not report the Chinese bank in his personal financial statements while he was president, probably because it was listed under his businesses. But he may still be required to report the stories to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).

Trump’s companies and businesses are of interest to the entire world. In his tax return, Trump listed business income, taxes, expenses or other notable financial items from Azerbaijan, Panama, Canada, India, Qatar, South Korea, United Kingdom, China, Dominican Republic, United Arab Emirates, Philippines, Grenada, US territory Puerto Rico, Georgia, Israel, Brazil, St. Maarten, Mexico, Indonesia, Ireland, Turkey and St. Vincent.

But the tax returns do not explain what his businesses are in those countries and who they employed while he was president.

Unlike previous presidents, Trump refused to divest his favorite businesses while in office. Critics say his large foreign holdings hurt his ability to function independently as a politician.

During his tenure, Trump promised to donate his entire $400,000 salary to charity each year. He often brags about donating portions of his quarterly check to various government agencies.

If he donated his 2020 salary, he did not report it on his taxes. Along with six years of tax returns from the House Ways and Means Committee, 2020 was the only year Trump did not list donations to charity.

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That’s not to say he hasn’t been paid, but it’s unclear if he’s made his promise in 2020.

During each year of Trump’s tenure, Trump said he has loaned three of his oldest children – Ivanka, Donald Jr. and Eric – undisclosed amounts on which he collected interest.

The tax returns don’t say how he made the loans or why he gave them out in the first place.

Between 2017 and 2020, Trump said he received exactly $18,000 in interest on a loan he gave to his daughter Ivanka Trump and $8,715 in interest from his son Donald Trump , Jr. Trump, and Eric paid him $19,605 in interest in 2020.

The Joint Committee on Taxation said that the two loans and the amount of interest mentioned could indicate that Trump is hiding gifts to his children. If the interest that Trump claims to have charged his children is not market value, for example, it can be considered a gift for tax purposes, requiring the payment of a higher tax on the money. .

Trump entered the presidency of the United States with a large network of businesses, including hundreds of limited companies, corporations and partnerships with operations in the country and abroad.

The size and complexity of his business – including companies nested inside each other like a Matryoshka doll – brought an unprecedented level of complexity to the American presidency and inspired the concern about conflicts of interest, especially with foreign organizations.

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The public release on Friday of Trump’s 2015 to 2020 personal and business tax filings could shed more light on how those transactions were processed. time and time later during his time in office. But they don’t say where the money goes and to whom.

Since 1977, the Internal Revenue Service has had a policy of auditing each president’s tax returns while they are in office. But the IRS did not conduct an audit of Trump’s tax returns until the Ways and Means Committee requested an audit in April of 2019.

When the committee asked the representatives of the Ministry of Finance regarding the apparent problem, they refused to give any information about the actual operation of the compulsory book search program, as importance in the report of the committee.

It remains unclear whether Trump received preferential treatment or, as the committee said, the IRS was hampered by a lack of resources.

The lack of an audit seems suspicious after Trump’s former and deputy representatives said they were subjected to annual audits by the IRS. A Biden White House spokesman told the AP that the IRS is looking for Biden in 2020 and 2021. Former President Barack Obama’s representatives told the New York Times that he is looking for the IRS each year he was in office.


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