President Donald Trump has steadfastly refused to release his tax documents and is continuing litigation in both D.C. and New York despite rulings against him to bar the disclosures of prosecutors or congressional committees. Now, ProPublica has reported that it was able to review tax and loan documents for New York properties that show disturbing major discrepancies in reported expenses and profits.
The two most concerning discrepancies involve 40 Wall Street and Trump International Hotel and Tower. Notably, Trump was running for president when these properties were refinanced and they have glaring conflicts. On the first property, 40 Wall Street, Trump reported to the lender that he had a 58.9 percent occupancy on Dec. 31, 2012 but then increased occupancy levels to 95 percent a few years later. However, when tax documents were filed, they reported an 81 percent lease figure on Jan. 5, 2013. There were other discrepancies the report of costs and other figures.
Likewise, on the Trump International Hotel and Tower, Trump reported rental incomes as $1.67 million in 2017 but then lowered the reported income for tax documents to $822,000.
The unrelenting opposition to the release of tax documents has fueled speculation that Trump is hiding such discrepancies or, alternatively, is trying to hide disclosure of a lower net worth than claimed publicly.
There may be defenses for different figures being reported but on its face it could raise questions of tax fraud. This in turn raises the concern of whether the effort to withhold tax documents is part of a strategy to run out the statute of limitations. The IRS audit tax returns up to three years after the filing date but that period can be extended to six years in some limited cases (involving the misrepresentation of at least 25 percent of gross income). That would mean that Trump is near the outside limit of the statute of limitations if he has not already passed that limit. If it were determined that Trump was running out the clock, there could be a claim that this is conduct occurring during his presidency in obstructing congressional inquiries to conceal an alleged crime. In other words, it could open up yet another basis for alleged impeachable offenses.