I’m trying to figure out, are the Trumps the perpetrators of the biggest tax fraud in US history?
The NYT reports that Donald Trump, rather than being a self-made man, received $413 million in wealth from his father. If we look at Donald and his 4 siblings together, they received $1 billion. When you transfer that much wealth, you’re supposed to pay taxes on it, but they engaged in legally dubious schemes in order to pay $500 million less than they should have.
The tax schemes were so extensive, The NYT spent 14,000 words describing it. I read a bit of it, and it was clear that Donald himself took a significant active role. But it’s seriously TL;DR, maybe you want to read the short version on WaPo or Vox or something. (ETA: NYT also has some highlights.)
$500 million is of course larger than the amount of money I will see in my life, so to get a sense for how large, I went and looked up the biggest tax frauds in history. I couldn’t find a definitive list, but here’s a page that lists some of the most famous cases. Most of them are for only a few million, or less than a million. By far the largest was Walter Anderson, who owed $141k in taxes (including penalties and interest, he paid over $200 million). I also found another article referring to a $11 million dollar scam as one of the biggest tax frauds in US history.
We don’t know exactly how many of these tax schemes are illegal tax evasion vs legal tax avoidance, but even if only a fraction of it was illegal, Donald Trump and his siblings stand to be among the biggest tax frauds in US history.