President Trump participated in dubious tax schemes during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud, that greatly increased the fortune he received from his parents, an investigation by The New York Times has found. Mr. Trump won the presidency proclaiming himself a self-made billionaire, and he has long insisted that his father, the legendary New York City builder Fred C. Trump, provided nearly no financial help.
While The Times was not able to review Trump's personal tax returns - which he has refused to release, breaking with decades of precedent for presidential nominees - it said it examined a "trove of confidential tax returns and financial records" showing that Trump received at least $US413 million in today's dollars from when he was a child through the present day.
The Times reported Trump and his siblings in part "set up a sham corporation to disguise millions of dollars in gifts from their parents".
Charles Harder, a lawyer for Mr Trump, rejected the reports, saying: "The New York Times's allegations of fraud and tax evasion are 100 percent false, and highly defamatory".
The Times says its report is based on interviews with Fred Trump's former employees and advisers, and on more than 100,000 pages of documents.
"He also helped formulate a strategy to undervalue his parents' real estate holdings by hundreds of millions of dollars on tax returns, sharply reducing the tax bill". And in one case, Fred Trump reportedly used All County invoices to make it seem as if he'd made improvements on a rent-stabilized apartment complex he owned.
According to CNBC, officials the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance are already planning to look into the matter. That would have amounted to a 55-percent tax on gifts, or $8 million, according to the report.
The Trump family in 1992 formed what The Times described as "the most overt fraud", a company called All County Building Supply & Maintenance.
Trump's taxes have been largely a mystery since he first ran for office.
"I knew there had to be a compelling reason why this president departed from previous presidents in not disclosing his income tax returns", said Sen.
"There was no fraud or tax evasion by anyone", he said in a statement.
Trump also "helped his father take improper tax deductions worth millions more", the newspaper added.
It said Trump got a cut of $177.3 million, or $236.2 million, in today's dollars from the sale.
Its objective was to be a purchasing agent for Fred Trump's buildings, but it did not function in that manner, The Times said. The stake was worth about $15.5 million, the Times said, but Donald Trump bought it for just $10,000 - allowing his father to dodge millions in tax liability.
Four years later, Fred Trump sold the stake for just $10,000, according to financial statements.