Despite decades of precedent among presidential candidates, Donald Trump has been steadfast in his refusal to release his tax returns. “You don’t learn that much from tax returns,” he said at the first presidential debate on Monday, where he claimed that he has been getting audited by the IRS almost every year for 15 years. “You will learn more about Donald Trump by going down to the federal elections,” Trump suggests, “where I filed a 104-page essentially financial statements of sorts.”
A lot of Trump critics have argued that he’s afraid that his tax returns will show he’s not a billionaire. Highly doubtful. First, Trump’s income will not directly correlate with the value of his assets, the debt on them or his stake in each. Second, FORBES has been scouring Trump’s fortune for 34 years. Sometimes he’s up, sometimes he down–and for much of the 1990s he was out of the three comma club.
FORBES’ new investigation into Trump’s wealth pegs his fortune at $3.7 billion, down $800 million from a year ago. A softening of New York City’s real estate market, particularly in retail and office, where valuations are trending down, has diminished his estimated net worth. New information was also a factor. Of the 28 assets or asset classes scrutinized by FORBES, 18 declined in value, including his trademark Trump Tower on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, his downtown jewel 40 Wall Street and Mar-a-Lago, his private beachfront club in Palm Beach.