While Donald J. Trump refuses to release his federal tax returns, saying his tax rate is “none of your business,” a USA TODAY analysis found Trump’s businesses have been involved in at least 100 lawsuits and other disputes related to unpaid taxes or how much tax his businesses owe.
Trump’s companies have been engaged in battles over taxes almost every year from the late 1980s until as recently as March, the analysis of court cases, property records, and other documents across the country shows. At least five Trump companies were issued warrants totaling more than $13,000 for late or unpaid taxes in New York state just since Trump declared his candidacy in June 2015, according to state records. This spring, as Trump flew to campaign rallies around the country aboard his trademark private jet, the state of New York filed a tax warrant to try to collect $8,578 in unpaid taxes from the Trump-owned company that owns the Boeing 757. The company has since paid that tax bill.
As recently as last week, Trump said he was “willing to pay more” taxes personally and that “taxes for the rich will go up somewhat” if he becomes president. But the lawsuits and other tax-related disputes show a different reality for his businesses. They illustrate a pattern of systematically disputing tax bills, arguing for lower property assessments, and in some cases not paying taxes until the government takes additional action. At least three dozen times, Trump companies’ unpaid tax bills have forced the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance to go to local courts to get liens against his properties to try to collect overdue bills. New Jersey also had to go to court for a lien to collect a Trump company’s unpaid tax bill. Eventually, those disputes were resolved, and his companies paid some amount of taxes.