Nike, FedEx, and 24 other companies with $77 billion of combined income have avoided paying taxes for years, a new report found

Nike Beijing
Customers lined up outside the Nike flagship store on the opening day at Wangfujing Street on January 20, 2021 in Beijing, China.

  • 55 publicly traded companies paid $0 in federal taxes last year, a study by ITEP found.
  • Nike and FedEx are among 26 companies that have not paid federal taxes in three years.
  • In 2020, the 55 companies avoided paying about $12 billion in federal taxes.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

55 of America’s biggest companies paid $0 in federal taxes last year, a new study from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) found.

The 55 publicly traded companies would have paid an estimated $12 billion in federal taxes if not for corporate tax breaks in 2020, including $8.5 billion in tax avoidance and $3.5 billion in tax rebates, the report found using regulatory filings and other information.

Nearly half of the companies have avoided paying federal taxes for the last three years, according to the report. Nike, FedEx, and DTE Energy were among 26 companies that recorded $77 billion in combined pre-tax income in the past three years, but did not pay any federal income taxes.

The news comes at the same time President Joe Biden looks to raise taxes on corporations. The White House announced this week that it plans to limit the number of companies that do not pay federal taxes, as well as increase the corporate tax rate to 28% – raising an estimated $2 trillion over the course of 15 years.

How do multi-billion dollar companies avoid federal taxes?

ITEP’s data found some of the nation’s biggest companies have been avoiding federal taxes for decades, dating back to the Reagan administration. The companies, which encompass a wide variety of industries, use a range of tactics, including tax exemptions and deductions.

While company tax returns are private, publicly traded companies must file financial reports that include information on federal income taxes. Using the financial reports as well as data on each companies’ pre-tax income, ITEP was able to analyze some of the major resources the companies used to avoid paying federal taxes.

In 2017, the Trump administration’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 amended the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, the Washington-based research group said the act failed to address major loopholes in the tax code.

“When President Trump signaled his intention to cut corporate taxes in 2017, he and Congress had an opportunity to pare back the many loopholes that have allowed companies to avoid tax on much of their income since the 1980s,” the report said. “Now, with three years of data published on the effective tax rates paid by publicly traded companies, it is clear that the Trump law has not meaningfully curtailed corporate tax avoidance and may even be encouraging it.”

Read more: When businesses should file taxes this year and how to get an extension if you need more time

The 2017 tax bill dropped the top corporate income tax rate from 35% to 21% – a corporate tax rate that is below average for most countries represented in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, a group that represents 37 developed countries. The act also allows companies to immediately write off the cost of new equipment and machinery.

Some of the loopholes ITEP found many companies used include tax breaks for executive stock options which allowed the companies to write off stock-option expenses.

Multiple companies, including Nike and Hewlett Packard, used federal research and experimentation tax credits to reduce their incomes, while companies like DTE Energy and Duke Energy used tax breaks for renewable energy to avoid paying federal taxes.

The CARES Act made it even easier for companies to avoid taxes

The $2.2 trillion CARES Act which was passed last year to help alleviate the economic distress of the pandemic and help businesses survive, provided the 55 companies with over $500 million in tax breaks, according to ITEP.

Dozens of publicly traded companies used provision from the CARES Act that temporarily allowed businesses to use losses in 2020 to offset profits earned in previous years, according to the research group.

FedEx was one of the companies that used the CARES Act to reduce tax bills from prior years when the tax rate was higher.

The company told Insider the CARES Act “helped companies like FedEx navigate a rapidly changing economy and marketplace while continuing to invest in capital, hire team members, and fund employee pension plans.”

Nike, HP, Salesforce, Duke Energy, and DTE Energy did not respond to a request from Insider for a comment.

In its report, the left-leaning research group pointed to several tax code amendments that could cut down on the number of companies that do not pay federal taxes, including a “minimum tax” for profitable companies, as well as cutting back on tax breaks for public companies.

Biden has repeatedly expressed interest in increasing taxes for major corporations as a way to fund his $2 trillion infrastructure plan.

On Wednesday, Biden called out Amazon for avoiding federal taxes. After paying $0 in federal taxes for two years, Amazon started paying federal income taxes in 2019.

Biden said he was aware the company was one of many Fortune 500 companies that use loopholes to avoid taxes, while middle class families are not afforded the same opportunities and pay over 20% tax rates.

“I don’t want to punish them, but that’s just wrong,” Biden said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

America’s wealthiest earners appear to be hiding billions of dollars from the IRS, study finds

Dubai party coronavirus
Tourists party on a yacht in Dubai Creek on February 4, 2021.

  • The top 1% of US earners aren’t reporting about a fifth of their income, new research shows.
  • Under-reporting is even higher among the top 0.1%, the paper found.
  • Offshore accounts and pass-through businesses are used to avoid taxes.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The top 1% of the highest-earning American households fail to report around 21% of their income, according to new research by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and academic economists.

This is a far larger percentage than the IRS’s methods had previously assumed, according the working paper published Sunday and first reported on by the Wall Street Journal. ]

Out of the 21% of unreported tax, around 6 percentage points are linked to sophisticated tax evasion that is rarely detected in random audits, the paper, by researchers at the IRS as well as schools including the London School of Economics, Carnegie Mellon, and the University of California at Berkeley, said.

These high-income households avoid paying tax through a number of ways, researchers found, adding to a bevvy of recent insight into wealth secrecy and tax avoidance. One strategy is using tax havens, where super rich individuals keep money in offshore accounts. Such evasion “increases the top 1% income share” in the US, the paper said.

Read more: Billionaire Tom Golisano says the Warren wealth tax would be ‘triple taxation’

Under-reported income is almost twice as high among the top 0.1% of earners, largely because of tax evasion through foreign bank accounts and pass-through businesses, like partnerships and S-corporations, the report says. The research found offshore accounts made up about $15 billion of evaded taxes, with the top 0.1% accounting for most of that.

To be in the top 1% of earners in the US, a family must meet an annual income threshold of $421,926, according to 2018 data from the Economic Policy Institute. But the average annual earnings for these top earners is actually $1,316,985.

For a decade, audit rates and staffing at the IRS have declined because of budget cuts, but Democrats and President Joe Biden are seeking to change that by expanding the agency, the Journal said, noting that additional enforcement could increase tax revenue by $1 trillion over a decade.

Last week, Biden said he was considering a tax hike for the wealthiest Americans in order to fund an infrastructure and jobs package. Those making more than $400,000 could see taxes raised to nearly 40% under the plan.Earlier in March, Democrats including Sen. Elizabeth Warren proposed an ultramillionaire tax on the top .05% of earners, which would raise $1.4 trillion over a decade, based on Forbes billionaire data.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The top 1% of high-income households in the US fail to report 20% of their income, a new paper reveals

Dubai party coronavirus
Tourists party on a yacht in Dubai Creek on February 4, 2021.

  • The top 1% of US earners aren’t reporting about a fifth of their income, new research shows.
  • Under-reporting is even higher among the top 0.1%, the paper found.
  • Offshore accounts and pass-through businesses are used to avoid taxes.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The top 1% of the highest-earning American households fail to report around 21% of their income, according to new research by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and academic economists.

This is a far larger percentage than the IRS’s methods had previously assumed, according the working paper published Sunday and first reported on by the Wall Street Journal. ]

Out of the 21% of unreported tax, around 6 percentage points are linked to sophisticated tax evasion that is rarely detected in random audits, the paper, by researchers at the IRS as well as schools including the London School of Economics, Carnegie Mellon, and the University of California at Berkeley, said.

These high-income households avoid paying tax through a number of ways, researchers found, adding to a bevvy of recent insight into wealth secrecy and tax avoidance. One strategy is using tax havens, where super rich individuals keep money in offshore accounts. Such evasion “increases the top 1% income share” in the US, the paper said.

Read more: Billionaire Tom Golisano says the Warren wealth tax would be ‘triple taxation’

Under-reported income is almost twice as high among the top 0.1% of earners, largely because of tax evasion through foreign bank accounts and pass-through businesses, like partnerships and S-corporations, the report says. The research found offshore accounts made up about $15 billion of evaded taxes, with the top 0.1% accounting for most of that.

To be in the top 1% of earners in the US, a family must meet an annual income threshold of $421,926, according to 2018 data from the Economic Policy Institute. But the average annual earnings for these top earners is actually $1,316,985.

For a decade, audit rates and staffing at the IRS have declined because of budget cuts, but Democrats and President Joe Biden are seeking to change that by expanding the agency, the Journal said, noting that additional enforcement could increase tax revenue by $1 trillion over a decade.

Last week, Biden said he was considering a tax hike for the wealthiest Americans in order to fund an infrastructure and jobs package. Those making more than $400,000 could see taxes raised to nearly 40% under the plan.Earlier in March, Democrats including Sen. Elizabeth Warren proposed an ultramillionaire tax on the top .05% of earners, which would raise $1.4 trillion over a decade, based on Forbes billionaire data.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Homeowners in richer neighborhoods are being taxed at roughly half the rate of homeowners in lower-income neighborhoods

Home for sale
  • A study found houses in lower-income neighborhoods in the US are taxed more than those in rich ones.
  • In Chicago, more costly homes were effectively taxed at around 1.5% while cheaper homes were taxed at around 4%.
  • In largely Black neighborhoods, homeowners are taxed around 50% more than in nearby neighborhoods.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A new study found that if you own a house in a lower-income neighborhood in the US, you’re typically being effectively taxed around twice as much as a homeowner in a wealthier nearby neighborhood.

The study, conducted by researcher Christopher Berry and The University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and first reported by The Washington Post, analyzed a trove of data from the tax and deed database company Corelogic. Berry studied the records from “individual property sales, including addresses, sale prices, and assessed values” from 2006 through 2016. The data covered 2,600 counties that contain 99% of the US population, according to the study.

While the property tax rate you pay as a homeowner should be the same in principle as others in your county, regardless of the sale price of your home, the research concluded that in reality this is not the case.

In Chicago, for example, the study found that the most expensive homes in Chicago, those priced at more than $500,000, were taxed at an effective rate of around 1.5% or less, while those sold for less than $100,000 saw and effective tax rate of around 4%. Similar discrepancies were noted in cities including Detroit, New York, and New Orleans.

“This pattern jumps out from the data, so it didn’t take me long to see once I had the data,” Berry told Insider. “I think the issue is that not many people are looking at these data.”

“Even experts on the property tax often overlook the issue of assessment quality,” Berry added. “Meanwhile, assessors, who really should be looking at these issues, have developed a set of standards and practices that tend to sweep the problem under the rug.”

tax_regressivity_chicago

So, how does a city go about setting the property tax anyway?

“The property tax is, in principle, an ad valorem tax, meaning a tax proportional to the property’s value,” Berry explained in his research. “Unlike a sales tax or a value-added tax, the property tax is not levied at the time of a transaction, but at regular intervals, usually annually.”

“Because most properties sell infrequently, their value in any given tax cycle must be estimated, a job that falls to the office of the local assessor,” Berry added. “The accuracy and fairness of the property tax depends fundamentally on the accuracy and fairness of the valuations estimated by assessors.”

While homeowners can appeal the city’s assessment of their house, the study notes that appeals are disproportionately pursued by those who own expensive property, which could contribute further to the problem.

“Since no way of measuring regressivity is perfect, they have essentially thrown up their hands and said, maybe it’s just measurement error,” Berry told Insider. “But the truth is that the magnitude of regressivity is much too big to be the result of measurement error.”

Berry found that in predominantly Black neighborhoods, homeowners faced an effective property tax around 50% higher than homeowners in nearby neighborhoods located within the same county.

Accurate and fair tax assessments are vital to buyers who are trying to build wealth.

“This is an example of structural racism,” Berry told The Washington Post. “African Americans and other minorities are more likely to own low-priced homes. This means that minorities are more likely to be overtaxed because they are more likely to own low-priced homes.”

The national homeownership rate for Black families in the US is 44% while for white families it is 73.7%, Insider reported, which contributes to a gap in the accumulation of wealth from owning a home for Black families living in America.

A study published in October from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that Black Americans pay $390 more in property taxes annually than white Americans, on average. Factoring in higher mortgage-interest payments and insurance premiums, Black Americans on average pay $13,464 more than white Americans across the duration of their home loans, according to MIT.

According to Berry, giving taxpayers transparency is one way to see equal tax assessments for all homeowners.

There are three main opportunities to increase equity in assessments, according to Berry.

  • Increased transparency: “Assessors should be more transparent about the quality of assessments and the existence of widespread regressivity,” Berry said. “You can’t fix a problem if you’re not willing to acknowledge that it exists. This is basically where we are right now. Higher level governments, particularly state governments, could do more to force assessors to be transparent and accountable.”
  • Better data and better statistical models: “Better data could come from more efforts at keeping updated information about properties and better coordination between assessors are other offices that have relevant information, such as building permits,” Berry said.
  • Additional sources of relief for owners of low-priced properties: These are the people “most likely to be overassessed,” Berry said. “For instance, exemptions could be more generous. In Detroit, owners who have income below the federal poverty rate are exempted from property taxes.”

Even with these improvements Berry still believes that there will always be some amount of regressivity in assessments.

“The root, irresolvable problem is that there will always be features of properties that buyers and sellers can see but assessors can’t. This will lead to regressivity for reasons explained in the paper. Even the best assessor isn’t going to be able to fix these problems when important property features are not in the data.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

The IRS commissioner told lawmakers that child tax credit payments may not be issued monthly – and may not start in July

pregnant woman and child
The child tax credit is an allowance for parents within certain income limits.

  • The $3,000 child tax credit payments approved in the pandemic relief bill may not be sent monthly.
  • The payments, which were meant to start in July, may also be delayed, according to the IRS.
  • The child tax credit is a government-approved grant for parents with certain income limits.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The child tax credit payments approved in the most recent coronavirus relief bill may not be sent to parents monthly, and may not even start in July, according to Charles Rettig, the IRS commissioner.

The child tax credit is an allowance for parents within certain income limits. American citizens who qualify for the child tax credit can get part of it as recurring cash payments.

On March 11, President Joe Biden signed into legislative action the $1.9 trillion American package, kickstarting a massive government rescue effort for struggling families, in which the child tax credit was significantly increased.

The legislation means families will be eligible to receive $3,000 annual benefits per child from ages 6 to 17, and $3,600 per child under the age of 6 for the 2021 tax year.

The child tax credit payments were scheduled to start in July as monthly payments, instead of a lump sum. That now may not happen, especially since the IRS has extended the tax-filing season for citizens to May 17 from April 15, Rettig said during a hearing with the House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday.

The IRS now only has limited time to devote to implementing and initiating a portal for the program, which must happen by July 1. Rettig said: “I don’t have the resources to devote to that portal until the filing season ends. It might be a challenge to get it monthly right out of the box.”

The commissioner also specified that in the final bill, payments were changed to be sent periodically as opposed to monthly, to give the agency more flexibility. “We’re focused on trying to get these payments out to the people in a meaningful manner and a meaningful timeframe,” he said at the hearing.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Janet Yellen wants to overhaul corporate taxes for the whole world – she’s talking to other countries about a minimum rate

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Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

  • The Washington Post reports Treasury Secretary Yellen is working on a global minimum tax rate.
  • The nonbinding rate would apply to multinationals, as she seeks to keep them from shopping for the lowest territory.
  • Yellen and Biden want to raise the corporate tax rate but need the rest of the world onboard.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has been clear since her confirmation hearing and subsequent press appearances that the Biden administration needs to raise new tax revenues. At the same time, she’s warned of the difficulties of implementing a wealth tax, which is favored by the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.

Part of the solution is reforming the corporate tax rate – not just in the US but far beyond its borders.

To that end, Yellen is in active talks with other countries about setting a global minimum rate for corporate taxes, The Washington Post’s Jeff Stein first reported.

The US was long an outlier, with a corporate tax rate of 35% versus the international average of 24%, until former President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax cut slashed the corporate rate to 21%. But even that hasn’t stopped other countries from lowering their rates to attract multinationals. The Post noted that nine countries lowered their corporate tax rate just last year.

Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, a mentor of Yellen’s, told the Post that if she is successful in these talks, it would be “a little like the Paris climate accord of taxes.” Yellen is holding talks with more than 140 international counterparts via the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), where countries are looking at global tax issues, with a particular focus on tech.

The goal for now is a nonbinding consensus on a minimum tax rate within the OECD, with the thinking that the US could move off the Trump-era 21% without fear of multinationals leaving to pay taxes at a lower rate somewhere else.

In the background of Yellen’s push for a global minimum is the Biden administration’s current push to find more tax revenue. President Joe Biden is reportedly planning the first major federal tax increase in nearly three decades, according to Bloomberg. One of the proposals on the table is a raise to the corporate tax, something that Biden campaigned on. He’s proposed raising the corporate tax rate to 28%.

The right-leaning Tax Foundation found that, since 1980, the “worldwide average statutory corporate tax rate has consistently decreased,” with the biggest drops coming in the early 2000s. According to the Tax Foundation, “the worldwide average statutory corporate income tax rate” is 23.85%.

Biden also just said this week that Americans earning over $400,000 could see an increase in their taxes, a measure he acknowledged may not win any Republican support.

There could be a complicated path forward for Yellen’s corporate minimum, per the Post. Congress may need to be involved in approving new tax rules, and it could take the countries involved years to enact the tax, if they even choose to adopt it.

As the Post reports, if the complex measure is successful, it would be a huge accomplishment for both Yellen and Biden’s presidency – and maybe the world. It could also help pay for a $2 trillion infrastructure package.

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Biden is considering a major federal tax increase for the first time in nearly 30 years, report says

biden vaccine
President Joe Biden

  • President Joe Biden is reportedly planning a tax increase in his next spending package.
  • Bloomberg reported that Biden is considering raising the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%.
  • Biden’s also thinking about increasing income taxes for individuals who earn over $400,000 a year.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

President Joe Biden is preparing to include a federal tax increase in his next big economic package, according to a Bloomberg report on Monday.

People familiar with the matter told the outlet that the Biden administration is working on a follow-up spending bill to the recently-enacted $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus. The initiative is expected to have a bigger price-tag, and may raise the corporate tax rate and the income tax rate for high-earning individuals to offset the spending, Bloomberg reported.

The move would represent the first major federal tax hike in nearly 30 years, per Bloomberg. The last significant tax increases were implemented in 1993 under the Clinton administration.

Sources with knowledge of the private discussions told Bloomberg that current ideas involve raising the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%, bumping up the income tax rate for individuals who earn more than $400,000 per year, increasing the capital-gains tax rate for individuals who earn at least $1 million per year, expanding the estate tax, and “paring back” tax preferences for pass-through businesses, which are not subject to corporate taxes, such as limited liability companies.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Monday told reporters that “there isn’t a package yet” but that Biden’s next proposal aims to fulfill components of his “Build Back Better” agenda touted on the 2020 presidential campaign trail.

“The president remains committed to his pledge from the campaign that nobody making under $400,000 a year will have their taxes increased,” Psaki said. “His priority and focus has always been on people paying their fair share and also focusing on corporations that may not be paying their fair share either.”

The Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan think tank, reported that Biden’s campaign tax plan would generate roughly $2.1 trillion over a decade, Bloomberg noted, but added that the administration’s plan will probably not be that large.

Republicans are widely expected to push back on any tax-increase initiatives, according to Bloomberg. The party, under the Trump administration, passed sweeping tax cuts in 2017 – the biggest overhaul to the federal tax code in three decades – without any Democratic votes. The law reduced the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%. Democrats assailed the bill as a “heist” that would “exacerbate inequality” in the country. Biden’s proposal would likely repeal elements of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Bloomberg reported.

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Elon Musk would have paid $4.6 billion in 2020 under Warren’s wealth tax proposal, data shows

Elon Musk
Tesla and SpaceX CEO would be hit heavily by the tax.

  • Musk would have paid $4.6 billion in 2020 under Warren’s “ultra-millionaire” plan, tax groups said.
  • The Tesla and SpaceX CEO was worth at least $150 billion at the end of 2020.
  • Musk plans to use his fortunes to fund a future colony on Mars.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Elon Musk would have paid $4.6 billion in 2020 under proposals for an “ultra-millionaire” tax, data from tax groups shows.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts proposed the Ultra-Millionaire Tax Act Monday. It would apply an annual 2% tax on individual net worth between $50 million and $1 billion, or 3% on net worth above $1 billion.

If this tax had been in place in 2020, Musk would have paid the second most of all Americans, beaten only by departing Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF) and the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) Project on Inequality said, basing their calculations on Forbes data. Musk would be followed by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the groups said.

The nation’s roughly 650 billionaires have a collective wealth of more than $4.2 trillion, the groups said. Their fortunes have increased by about 44% since March 2020, when the pandemic lockdowns in the US started, and over a decade the wealth tax on those 650 billionaires alone would fund about three-quarters of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, the ATF and IPS said.

About a third of the wealth tax would be paid by the 15 richest Americans alone, who combined have a fortune of more than $2.1 trillion, they added.

Musk has grown richer and richer over the past year

At the end of 2020, Musk’s real-time worth was $153.5 billion according to Forbes and $170 billion, according to Bloomberg. Both rich lists said his wealth increased more than sixfold within a year.

Based on Forbes’ figures, Musk would have paid $4.6 billion last year under Warren’s proposal. Using Bloomberg’s figures, this would have been $5.1 billion.

Musk and Bezos have been flip-flopping as the world’s richest person since January. As of March 5, Bezos tops both Forbes and Bloomberg’s lists. Musk is worth $152.4 billion, according to Forbes and $162 billion, according to Bloomberg.

Musk made his fortune from his business empire. He is the CEO of both Tesla and SpaceX, founder of Neuralink, and co-founder of the Boring Company.

Though he takes the minimum legally allowed salary from Tesla, Musk’s compensation package awards him stock when Tesla achieves certain goals, making him the world’s highest-paid executive last year. He has a roughly 20% stake in Tesla, as well as 57 million vested Tesla stock options, according to Bloomberg.

He also has a 48% stake in his aerospace company, SpaceX. A February 2021 funding round valued SpaceX at $74 billion.

Musk has ambitious plans for his fortunes. In December, he told Mathias Döpfner, the CEO of Insider’s parent company, Axel Springer, that he was selling all his possessions to fund a future colony on Mars.

“In fact, I’ll have basically almost no possessions with a monetary value, apart from the stock in the companies,” Musk said. “If things are intense at work, I like just sleeping in the factory or the office. And I obviously need a place if my kids are there. So, I’ll just rent a place or something.”

Musk also recently sold several expensive pieces of property, including three neighboring homes in the Bel-Air neighborhood of Los Angeles.

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Manhattan DA’s office has reportedly issued a subpoena to the NYC Tax Commission as part of an investigation into former President Trump’s company

Trump Tower
People walk past the Trump Tower in Manhattan.

  • The Manhattan DA reportedly issued a subpoena for Trump Organization records from a NYC tax agency. 
  • Reuters reported that the NYC Tax Commission confirmed it received the subpoena. 
  • The DA’s office has not publicly accused Trump or his businesses of wrongdoing.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

A New York City property tax agency has been issued with a subpoena as part of a criminal investigation into former President Donald Trump’s company, Reuters reported on Friday. 

Manhattan district attorney Cy Vance’s office reportedly issued a subpoena to the New York City Tax Commission, which is responsible for reviewing assessed values of properties.

Reuters reported that the commission confirmed it received the subpoena. 

In recent court documents, Vance’s office said its investigation is focused on “possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct” at the Trump Organization, the umbrella company for Trump’s various business interests. Vance’s office has not publicly accused Trump or his businesses of wrongdoing, Vanity Fair reported.  

Last week, it was reported that Vance’s office hired Mark Pomerantz, a prosecutor specializing in white-collar and organized crime. 

Property owners in New York City can file applications with the NYC Tax Commission to correct the assessed value of their properties, according to the agency’s website.

Records held by the agency would likely include income and expense statements from the Trump Organization, which the company may have filed in an effort to lower its tax assessments, Reuters reported.  

Vance’s office has reportedly sought documents related to the value of Trump Organization properties in New York from other sources, too. Last fall, Vance’s office issued a subpoena to Deutsche Bank, according to The New York Times. That bank had served as the primary lender for Trump’s businesses for about two decades, reports said. Prosecutors last year reportedly interviewed bankers who had worked with Trump. 

Reuters reported that investigators may be looking into whether the Trump Organization sought to increase the value of its properties when seeking loans, then tried to decrease the value when paying property taxes. 

The Wall Street Journal last Saturday reported that Vance’s office was looking into loans taken out on the Trump Organization’s flagship properties in New York City. 

 

 

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