Donald Trump tears into the New York Times for ‘made-up, phony’ story that he paid no income tax for 11 years, just $750 in 2016 and 2017 and reported huge losses across his business empire
- The Times reported that Trump paid just $750 in federal income taxes in both 2016 and 2017, and paid no income taxes in 11 of the 18 years looked at
- That’s despite receiving $427.4 million through 2018 from his reality television program The Apprentice and other endorsement and licensing deals
- Trump was able to minimize his tax bill by reporting losses across his empire
- He is said to have claimed $47.4 million in losses in 2018, despite claiming income of at least $434.9 million in a financial disclosure that year
- Trump denied the report on Sunday, calling it ‘total fake news’
- He has previously blasted the long-running quest for his financial records as a ‘continuation of the most disgusting witch hunt in the history of our country’
- He is the only modern president who has refused to release his tax returns
Documents show the president paid no income tax in 11 of the 18 years studied, according to a report by the paper. He was able to minimize his tax bill by reporting heavy losses across his business empire, including at his golf courses.
That’s despite receiving $427.4 million through 2018 from his reality television program and other endorsement deals. 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.
Responding to the report Sunday evening Trump told reporters: ‘It’s totally fake news. Made up. Totally fake news.’
The president, who campaigned for office as a billionaire real estate mogul and successful businessman, said he has paid taxes, though he gave no specifics.
The Times reported Trump claimed $47.4 million in losses in 2018, despite claiming income of at least $434.9 million in a financial disclosure that year. The Times emphasized the documents reveal only what Trump told the government about his businesses, and did not disclose his true wealth.
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President Donald Trump, pictured on Sunday, paid little in income taxes in recent years as heavy losses from his business enterprises offset hundreds of millions of dollars in income, the New York Times reported on Sunday, citing tax-return data
Responding to the report Sunday evening Trump told reporters: ‘It’s totally fake news’
Trump has previously blasted the long-running quest for his financial records as a ‘continuation of the most disgusting witch hunt in the history of our country’.
The businessman is the only modern president who has refused to release his tax returns.
Before he was elected, he had promised to do so.
Trump’s lawyer Alan Garten, said that ‘most, if not all, of the facts appear to be inaccurate’.
KEY FINDINGS FROM THE REPORT ON TRUMP’S TAX RETURNS
TRUMP PAID JUST $750 IN TAXES IN BOTH 2016 and 2017.
The newspaper said Trump initially paid $95 million in taxes over the 18 years it studied. But he managed to recover most of that money by claiming — and receiving — a stunning $72.9 million federal tax refund.
According to the Times, Trump also pocketed $21.2 million in state and local refunds, which are typically based on federal filings.
Trump’s outsize refund became the subject of a now-long-standing Internal Revenue Service audit of his finances. The audit was widely known. Trump has claimed it was the very reason why he cannot release his returns. But the Times report is the first to identify the issue that was mainly in dispute.
As a result of the refund, Trump paid an average $1.4 million in federal taxes from 2000 to 2017, the Times reported. By contrast, the average U.S. taxpayer in the top .001% of earners paid about $25 million annually over the same time-frame.
TRUMP HAS FINANCED AN EXTRAVAGANT LIFESTYLE WITH THE USE OF BUSINESS EXPENSES
From his homes, his aircraft — and $70,000 on hair styling during his television show “The Apprentice” — Trump has capitalized on cost incurred from his businesses to finance a luxurious lifestyle.
The Times noted that Trump’s homes, planes and golf courses are part of the Trump family business and, as such, Trump classified them as business expenses as well. Because companies can write off business expenses as deductions, all such expenses have helped reduce Trump’s tax liability.
MANY OF HIS BEST-KNOWN BUSINESSES ARE MONEY-LOSERS
The president has frequently pointed to his far-flung hotels, golf courses and resorts as evidence of his success as a developer and businessman. Yet these properties have been been draining money.
The Times reported that Trump has claimed $315 million in losses since 2000 on his golf courses, including the Trump National Doral near Miami, which Trump has portrayed as a crown jewel in his business empire. Likewise, his Trump International Hotel in Washington has lost $55 million, the Times reported.
FOREIGN VISITORS HAVE HELPED SUPPORT TRUMP’S PROPERTIES
Since Trump began his presidential run, lobbyists, foreign governments and politicians have lavished significant sums of money on his properties, a spending spree that raised questions about its propriety and legality.
The Times report illustrates just how much that spending has been: Since 2015, his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida has taken in $5 million more a year from a surge in membership. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association spent at least $397,602 in 2017 at Trump’s Washington hotel. Overseas projects have produced millions more for Trump — $3 million from the Philippines, $2.3 million from India and $1 million from Turkey.
TRUMP WILL FACE FINANCIAL PRESSURE AS DEBTS COME DUE
Trump seems sure to face heavy financial pressures from the enormous pile of debt he has absorbed. The Times said the president appears to be responsible for $421 million in loans, most of which will come due within four years. On top of that, a $100 million mortgage on Trump Tower in New York will come due in 2022.
Reporting by the Associated Press
He added: ‘Over the past decade, President Trump 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.’
The disclosure, 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 Tuesday, and weeks before a divisive election.
The investigation, published Sunday, reveals tax deductions on expenses including $70,000 on styling Trump’s hair for 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.
The report also suggests ‘consulting fees’ were given to the president’s eldest daughter Ivanka, which appear to have helped lowered the family’s tax bill.
A nearly $100,000 payment to Ivanka’s favorite hair and makeup stylist was also listed as a business expense.
The Miss Universe pageant is said to have generated $2.3 million for Trump during his time as a co-owner, according to the report.
Data obtained by The Times does not include his his 2018 and 2019 personal returns. Trump has consistently refused to release his taxes, departing from standard practice for presidential candidates, saying they are under audit.
On Sunday he said the IRS ‘treat me very badly, they treat me like the Tea Party’, adding of his returns: ‘It’s under audit. It’s been under audit for a long time.’
He said: ‘They’re doing anything they can. The stories I read, they are so fake, they are so phony.’
The Times said it had obtained tax-return data covering over two decades for Trump and companies within his business organization.
The Times also reported that Trump is currently embroiled in a decade-long Internal Revenue Service audit over a $72.9 million tax refund he claimed after declaring large losses. If the IRS rules against him in that audit, he could have to pay over $100 million, according to the newspaper.
The president vowed that information about his taxes ‘will all be revealed.’
But he offered no timeline for the disclosure and made similar promises during the 2016 campaign on which he never followed through.
In fact, the president has fielded court challenges against those seeking access to his returns, including the U.S. House, which is suing for access to Trump’s tax returns as part of congressional oversight.
During his first general election debate against Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016, Clinton said that perhaps Trump wasn’t releasing his tax returns because he had paid nothing in federal taxes.
Trump interrupted her to say, ‘That makes me smart.’
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 reduce his income and pay just $750 each in 2016 and 2017.
Income tax payments help finance the military and domestic programs.
Richard Neal, D-Mass., the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee who has tried unsuccessfully to obtain Trump’s tax records, said the Times report makes it even more essential for his committee to get the documents.
‘It appears that the President has gamed the tax code to his advantage and used legal fights to delay or avoid paying what he owes,’ Neal wrote in a statement.
‘Now, Donald Trump is the boss of the agency he considers an adversary.
It is essential that the IRS’s presidential audit program remain free of interference.’
The New York Times had laready obtained copies of Donald Trump’s tax returns from 1995. Pictured are published pages of those returns
WHAT HE MADE, WHAT HE LOST AND WHAT HE PAID IN TAX
THE APPRENTICE – $197.3million
In 2005 alone, Trump raked in $47.8million because of a deal which entitled him to half the show’s profits.
ENDORSEMENT AND LICENSING DEALS – $230million
$500,000 from Domino’s in 2005
$3.8million from Serta Mattresses in 2013
$11million Trump International Hotel Waikiki licensing deal in 2010
$2.9million Trump Towers Istanbul licensing deal
INVESTMENTS – $178million
Trump Tower – $336million in profit between 2000 and 2018
Trump World Tower – $167million in profit
Share in two office buildings owned by Vornado – $176.5million
The golf courses were the most loss-making.
Between 2000 and 2018, the courses reported $315.6millon in losses.
In 2013, Trump National Doral in Miami reported $65.5million in losses.
In 2008 and 2009 – More than $1billion in losses from failure of his Atlantic City casino investments. He used it to claim a $72.9million refund in federal taxes from the previous four years
Bid for presidency announced, costing him Miss Universe and The Apprentice
But it boosted Mar-a-Lago membership and raked in $7.8million in 2016.
WHAT TAX DID HE PAY?
Between 2005 and 2008, he paid more than $70million to the IRS after his exorbitant income from The Apprentice and the endorsements that came with it caught up with him.
More than $300million which he is personally responsible for that he needs to start repaying in the next four years
He has liquidated hundreds of millions in stocks and has less than $1million in his portfolio, according to public financial disclosures
The IRS audit still is not complete. He could we more than $100million from that when it is, according to the Times.
The New York Times said it declined to provide Trump’s lawyer Garten with the tax filings in order to protect its sources.
Democrats were quick to seize on the report to paint Trump as a tax dodger and raise questions about his carefully groomed image as a savvy businessman.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer took to Twitter to ask Americans to raise their hands if they paid more in federal income tax than Trump.
Trump’s consistent refusal to release his taxes has been a departure from standard practice for presidential candidates.
He is currently in a legal battle with New York City prosecutors and congressional Democrats who are seeking to obtain his returns.
TRUMP PAID JUST $750 IN TAXES IN BOTH 2016 AND 2017
One of the most shocking revelations from the tax returns was that Trump paid $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and the same amount in 2017.
His accountants managed it, the report claims, by applying $9.2million in business tax credits which drastically reduced his bill. The Times reports that he didn’t need to pay any federal income taxes at all in those years but that $750 was earmarked.
By contrast, the Times reports, he and his companies paid $145,000 in taxes in India, $15,598 in Panama and $156,824 in the Philippines.
The IRS considers forgiven debt to be income – since 2010, he has been given $287million that hasn’t been paid back. Tax on income from a canceled debt – ie the amount he hasn’t paid back – can be completely deferred for 5 years than spread out evenly over the next five.
In 2014, he declared the first $28.2million of the reported $287million that he owed tax on.
But because he reported such high losses, he was not required to pay income tax for that year. Periodically, he paid what is known as alternative minimum tax which prevents wealthy people from just reporting huge business losses every year to reduce their tax bill.
Between 2000 and 2017, he paid $24.3million in alternative minimum tax. In 2015, he paid $641,931 in income tax, which the Times claims was his first federal income tax payment since 2010.
He paid $1million in 2016 and 2017 for income taxes he ‘might owe’ but when he filed, it was washed away – most of the payments were rolled forward to cover taxes in future years.
He did it by applying $9.7million in business investment credits to reduce how much income tax he owed down to $750, the report claims.
One of the investments he cited was the Old Post Office hotel which qualified for a historic-preservation tax break.
WRITE-OFFS AND EXPENSES INCLUDING $70,000 ON APPRENTICE HAIRCUTS AND IVANKA’S FAVORITE STYLIST
One of the ways Trump reduced his taxes was by claiming large expenses as business costs, the report claims.
Among them was $70,000 on haircuts for The Apprentice, which he appeared on as a judge between 2004 and 2014.
Between nine different companies, $95,464 was paid to a hair and make-up artist that Ivanka favored, the records also show.
Trump also claimed expenses like fuel for his private aircraft to ferry him between golf resorts.
The investigation, published Sunday, reveals tax deductions on expenses including $70,000 on styling his hair for The Apprentice, pictured
A federal appeals court on Friday tested the waters on a potential compromise after arguments in Trump’s long-running fight to prevent a top New York prosecutor from getting his tax returns.
Trump’s lawyer, William Consovoy, signaled they will be satisfied only if Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. is barred from getting all of the requested records.
His lawyers maintain that the subpoena seeking eight years of the president’s corporate and personal tax returns amounts to a ‘fishing expedition’ and that Trump should be afforded the same protections as ordinary citizens in the same situation.
They argued that aside from acknowledging an inquiry into money paid to two women who alleged affairs with Trump, Vance’s office hasn’t specified why it needs such a vast collection of his financial records.
Vance, a Democrat, began seeking the Republican president’s tax returns from his longtime accounting firm over a year ago, after Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen told Congress that the president had misled tax officials, insurers and business associates about the value of his assets.