US President Donald Trump, who is the only president in modern times not to make his tax filings public, has paid no federal income taxes in 10 of the past 15 years, details of his tax filings published by the New York Times show.
US President Donald Trump has paid no federal income taxes in 10 of the past 15 years, according to a report in The New York Times.
Trump, who has fiercely guarded his tax filings and is the only president in modern times not to make them public, paid $750 in taxes to the federal government the year he was elected, 2016, and $750 again his first year in office.
The disclosure on Sunday, which the Times said comes from tax-return data it obtained extending over two decades, comes at a pivotal moment ahead of the first presidential debate on Tuesday, and weeks before a divisive election.
Trump dismissed the report as “fake news.”
"It's totally fake news, made up, fake," Trump told reporters shortly after the paper published the multiple allegations on Sunday.
The details of the tax filings revealed a series of financial losses and income from abroad that could come into conflict with his responsibilities as president.
The president’s financial disclosures indicated he earned at least $434.9 million in 2018, but the tax filings reported a $47.4 million loss.
The tax filings also illustrate how a reputed billionaire could pay little to nothing in taxes, while someone in the middle class could pay substantially more than him. Roughly half of Americans pay no income taxes, primarily because of how low their incomes are. But IRS figures indicate that the average tax filer paid roughly $12,200 in 2017, about 16 times more than what the president paid.
The disclosure reported by the Times comes at a pivotal moment ahead of the first presidential debate Tuesday and weeks before a divisive election against Democrat Joe Biden.
The Fake News Media, just like Election time 2016, is bringing up my Taxes & all sorts of other nonsense with illegally obtained information & only bad intent. I paid many millions of dollars in taxes but was entitled, like everyone else, to depreciation & tax credits.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 28, 2020
A lawyer for the Trump Organisation, Alan Garten, and a spokesperson for the Trump Organisation did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press on the report.
Garten told the Times that “most, if not all, of the facts appear to be inaccurate.”
He said in a statement to the news organisation that the president "has paid tens of millions of dollars in personal taxes to the federal government, including paying millions in personal taxes since announcing his candidacy in 2015.”
READ MORE: Democrats give Trump 10 days to hand over tax returns
Trump's tax avoidance
The president has fielded court challenges against those seeking access to his returns, including the US House, which is suing to get Trump's tax returns as part of congressional oversight.
During his first two years as president, Trump received $73 million from foreign operations, which in addition to his golf properties in Scotland and Ireland included $3 million from the Philippines and $2.3 million from India, among other nations.
The president in 2017 paid $145,400 in taxes in India and $156,824 in the Philippines, compared to just $75 0 in US income taxes. The Times said the tax records did not reveal any unreported connections to Russia.
Personal expenses and tax credits
Trump found multiple ways to reduce his tax bills.
He has taken tax deductions on personal expenses such as housing, aircraft and $70,000 to style his hair while he filmed “The Apprentice.”
Losses in the property businesses solely owned and managed by Trump appear to have offset income from his stake in “The Apprentice” and other entities with multiple owners.
During the first two years of his presidency, Trump relied on business tax credits to reduce his tax obligations. The Times said $9.7 million worth of business investment credits that were submitted after Trump requested an extension to file his taxes allowed him to offset his obligations and pay just $750 each in 2016 and 2017.
Income tax payments help finance the military and domestic programmes.
Trump, starting in 2010, claimed and received an income tax refund that totaled $72.9 million, which the Times said was at the core of an ongoing audit by the IRS. The Times said a ruling against Trump could cost him $100 million or more.
The president could also face mounting financial pressure in the years ahead.
The tax records show he’s carrying a total of $421 million in loans and debt that are primarily due within four years.
Most of that debt comes from the Doral golf resort in Florida ($125 million) and Trump’s Washington hotel ($160 million), two properties that the Times said are struggling financially.
Trump dismissed the report in a series of tweets on Monday claiming “The Fake News Media, just like Election time 2016, is bringing up my Taxes & all sorts of other nonsense with illegally obtained information & only bad intent."
He said that he is entitled to take tax credits and account for depreciation and that when extraordinary assets are included, “I am extremely under leveraged – I have very little debt compared to the value of assets."