During the first US presidential debate, President Trump responded to questions about a The New York Times report claiming he paid only $750 in federal income tax the year he took office in 2016.

President Donald Trump on Sepember 29, 2020.
President Donald Trump on Sepember 29, 2020. (AP)

President Donald Trump went on the defensive during the first US presidential debate against his Democratic rival Joe Biden, claiming he had paid millions of dollars in income taxes.

"I paid millions of dollars in taxes, millions of dollars of income tax," Trump said when asked by moderator Chris Wallace if it is true that he paid only $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017, referencing a story by The New York Times.

"I paid $38 million one year. I paid $27 million one year," said Trump as Biden repeatedly interrupted, saying "Show us your tax returns."

"You’ll see it as soon as it’s finished," Trump responded.

READ MORE: NYT report says Trump paid $750 in US income taxes in 2016, 2017

Biden releases tax returns

Trump did not pay any federal income taxes in 10 of the last 15 years, according to The New York Times report Monday, which said the former businessman paid just $750 in federal income tax the year he took office in 2016 and another $750 in 2017.

Hours before the debate, Biden released his own tax returns.

The former vice president had an income of approximately $750,000 in 2019 based on employment assets, income and retirement accounts, according to a tax document filed May 15. His spouse, Jill, earned close to $160,000.

"I'm going to eliminate the Trump taxes and we're going to invest in the people who need help," said Biden.

READ MORE: Trump’s tax returns reveal a system that rewards all of America’s elite

Trump opponents take to Twitter

The report sparked broad outrage on Monday, from rich Democrats to teachers and coffee shop workers taking to social media to claim they had paid more taxes than the president.

The #IPaidMoreTaxesThanDonaldTrump hashtag began trending on Monday, while Democratic rival Joe Biden's election campaign seized on the backlash, launching merchandise with the words: 'I Paid More In Taxes Than Donald Trump.'

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.

READ MORE: Biden, Trump in fiery first US presidential debate

Source: AA