October 15, 2018

The IRS Could Come for Trump

“The New York State tax authority is “vigorously pursuing” an investigation into decades of alleged tax fraud by the Trump family, after the New York Times reported that Donald Trump and his parents avoided nearly $500 million in taxes, partially by underreporting assets and using shell companies.

The Times report relies on tens of thousands of documents and names individuals and businesses who aided the Trump family in the alleged deception, detailing how the family paid what amounted to a 5% tax rate on the transfer of over $1 billion in wealth through the 1990s. Trump called the report “boring” and “long-told,” but didn’t deny the facts; the White House said that “the [Internal Revenue Service] reviewed and signed off on these transactions.”

Could America’s state and national coffers get back any of the millions that the Trump family allegedly owes? Technically, yes. Practically, it’d be tough, say tax experts.

The statute of limitation for prosecuting criminal fraud, which requires a high level of evidence and could result in a jail term, has passed; it’s three to six years for federal offenses and several years for New York State offenses. But there is no statute of limitations for civil fraud prosecutions, which if successful would let the agency claw back the money, under New York State or federal tax law.”

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