Wed | Nov 25, 2020

NY probes Trump consulting payments that reduced his taxes

Published:Friday | November 20, 2020 | 9:24 AM
In this June 13, 2017, file photo, Ivanka Trump joins her father, President Donald Trump, as they walk across the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. New York's attorney general has sent a subpoena to the Trump Organisation for records related to consulting fees paid to Ivanka Trump as part of a broad civil investigation into the president's business dealings, a law enforcement official said Thursday, November 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — New York’s attorney general has sent a subpoena to the Trump Organisation for records related to consulting fees paid to Ivanka Trump as part of a broad civil investigation into the president’s business dealings, a law enforcement official said Thursday.

The New York Times, citing anonymous sources, reported that a similar subpoena was sent to President Donald Trump’s company by the Manhattan district attorney, which is conducting a parallel criminal probe.

The Associated Press could not immediately independently confirm the district attorney’s subpoena but the one sent by Attorney General Letitia James was described by an official briefed on the investigation who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The records requests followed recent reporting in The Times, based partly on two decades’ worth of Trump’s tax filings, that the president had reduced his company’s income tax liability over several years by deducting $26 million in consulting fees as a business expense.

Records strongly suggested, The Times reported, that $747,622 of those fees had been paid to Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, through a company she owned at a time when she was also a Trump Organization executive.

If true, that wouldn't’t necessarily pose a problem for Ivanka Trump herself, as long as she paid income tax on the consulting payments, which she reported publicly.

It could, however, raise questions about whether the Trump Organisation’s related tax deductions were allowable.

The Internal Revenue Service has, in the past, pursued civil penalties over large consulting fee write-offs it found were made to dodge tax liability.

The Times wrote that there was no indication Ivanka Trump is a target of either the state’s or the city’s investigation.

“This is harassment pure and simple,” she said on Twitter late Thursday.

“This ‘inquiry’ by NYC democrats is 100% motivated by politics, publicity and rage. They know very well that there’s nothing here and that there was no tax benefit whatsoever. These politicians are simply ruthless.”

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