Without Fred Trump, there would be no Donald Trump the billionaire and no Donald Trump, the U.S. president. This is likely the personal reason why Donald Trump keeps refusing to release his tax returns. On the business end, POTUS Trump's tax returns made public may confirm him as a clumsy businessman that lost more money than anyone in the United States from 1984 to 1995.

Real estate tycoon Fred Trump, who died in 1999, made it a habit of saving Donald from a succession of bankruptcies that would have completely ruined any other businessman. He gifted his son with at least $413 million (adjusted for inflation) over five decades, estimated the New York Times in an October 2018 exposé.

To reach this stunning figure, the Times obtained more than 100,000 pages of tax returns and financial records from Fred Trump's businesses. The publication also interviewed former advisers and employees of the senior Trump.

"All told, The Times documented 295 distinct streams of revenue Fred Trump created over five decades to channel wealth to his son," wrote the Times.

And because of his father, Donald Trump "was a millionaire by age 8."

Donald Trump's tax returns are also vital because no one knows exactly what he's worth. Forbes estimated Trump's net worth at $3.1 billion as of September 2019, of which real estate accounts for $1.5 billion. On the other hand, Bloomberg lists Trump's wealth at $2.97 billion as of Nov. 15 and said this wealth was "inherited." Trump is the first billionaire U.S. president.

These conflicting estimates are made more confusing by Trump's unfounded claims he's worth much more than this. These facts make it necessary to know the true extent of Trump's real wealth and Trump's tax returns are the only valid source of this information. The president was ordered to produce his tax records by a U.S. District Court judge on May 20, 2019. He hasn't complied and continues to fight this order in court.

This means Trump isn't the self-made billionaire he claims to be. Trump also keeps denying having received any substantial financial assistance from his father.

“I built what I built myself,” Trump keeps bragging.

But the skeletons in the closet Trump apparently wants kept most under wraps is these "donations" to him from his father were made illegally after subverting tax laws. This, and the fact that "in every era of Mr. Trump’s life, his finances were deeply entwined with, and dependent on, his father’s wealth. By age 3, he was earning $200,000 a year in today’s dollars from his father’s empire. He was a millionaire by age 8. In his 40s and 50s, he was receiving more than $5 million a year (from his father)," wrote the Times.

Both these skeletons destroy Donald Trump's carefully crafted claim he's a self-made billionaire.

US President Donald Trump, pictured here on November 4, 2019, hosted representatives of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan at the White House US President Donald Trump, pictured here on November 4, 2019, hosted representatives of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan at the White House Photo: AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM

The Times' exposé "is the first comprehensive examination of the inherited fortune and tax dodges that guaranteed Mr. Trump a gilded life." It also reveals tax maneuvers by both Fred and Donald that show a pattern of deception, according to tax experts.

"The line between legal tax avoidance and illegal tax evasion is often murky, and there is no shortage of clever tax-avoidance tricks that have been blessed by either the courts or the Internal Revenue Service itself; the wealthiest Americans rarely pay anything close to full freight. The Trumps’ tax maneuvers met with little resistance from the I.R.S.," wrote the Times.

The Trumps, however, seem to have done more than exploit legal loopholes. Tax experts said the Trumps' conduct represent "a pattern of deception and obfuscation" that prevented the I.R.S. from taxing Fred of his wealth transfers to his kids. 

As a result, Donald Trump began enjoying the wealth from his father’s real estate empire as a toddler.

Fred Trump was present in every important step Donald took to establish the real estate business he has today. His first big loan to his son amounted to $60.7 million at the time ($140 million in today’s dollars), and much of it was never repaid by his son.

Up until today, the son continues to claim the only financial help he got from his father was a $1 million loan. Not only that.

“I had to pay him back with interest," claims Donald.