The New York Times has reported that President Trump paid just $750 in federal income tax both in 2016, the year he contested presidency and in his maiden year in WH. The newspaper claimed that it obtained Republican’s tax records and alleged him of non-payment of any sort of taxes in 10 of the last 15 years. The documents disclosed “lingering losses and years of tax avoidance” it says. The billionaire blasted the report as “fake news”.
“Actually, I paid tax. And you’ll see that as soon as my tax returns – it’s under audit, they’ve been under audit for a long time,” he told reporters after the story was published on Sunday.
“The IRS [Internal Revenue Service] does not treat me well… they treat me very badly. You have people in the IRS – they treat me very badly,” he said.
Trump refusing to share the records of his empire is not new when it comes to facing litigation. The GOP President is the first WH resident since the 1970s not to make his tax returns public, though morally significant it is not required by law. According to the newspaper the information published in its report was “provided by sources with legal access to it”. The report surfaced just days before Trump’s first Presidential debate with Democratic rival Joe Biden and with a couple of weeks left for November 3 elections.
Key claims made by Times
The Times in its report said it studied tax returns concerning Trump’s fortunes and assets held by Trump organization going back to the 1990s as well as his personal returns filed in 2016 and 2017. It claimed that the President paid income taxes worth $750 in the years he got elected and the next year. The newspaper added that Trump filed no tax returns at all in 10 of the 15-year evading a massive liability, “largely because he reported losing much more money than he made”.
Before making a bid for Presidential election, the Republican was known as a celebrity businessman and property tycoon. But the newspaper lays claim that his reports to the IRS “portray a businessman who takes in hundreds of millions of dollars a year yet racks up chronic losses that he aggressively employs to avoid paying taxes”. In a public filing, the businessman-turned politician, showed that he earned at least USD 434.9mn in 2018. The paper challenges this stance, alleging that his tax returns show the President had instead gone into debt, with $47.5mn in losses. Trump Organization joined voices with its owner denying the charges levelled against it in the report. Alan Garten who serves the organization as its chief legal officer told the Times that “most if not all, of the facts appear to be inaccurate”.
“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,” he said.
The NY Times also suggested that most of Republican’s biggest businesses – such as his golf courses and hotels – “report losing millions, if not tens of millions, of dollars year after year”.
“That equation is a key element of the alchemy of Trump’s finances: using the proceeds of his celebrity to purchase and prop up risky businesses, then wielding their losses to avoid taxes,” it says. The report went to say that Trump is personally liable for over $300mn in loans that are due to be repaid in the next four years. The top paper also alleges that some of the Trump’s companies have been funded by “lobbyists, foreign officials and others seeking face time, accessor favor” from him.
The Times says it went through tax records to find how much wealth the overseas businesses owned by Republican generate alleging that he earned $73mn in revenue from his companies based outside American during his first two years in the office. A big chunk of that was supplied from the golf courses in Scotland and Ireland however, the Times says the Trump Organization also enjoyed a reasonable money “from licensing deals in countries with authoritarian-leaning leaders or thorny geopolitics”.
The Times claims that the licensing deals totaled #3mn form the Philippines, 1mn from Turkey and USD 2.3mn from India. Similarly, Trump got his hand on $427.4mn in 2018 in revenues from The Apprentice US series, as well as from branding deals sponsored by organizations who bought his name. He also bagged a whopping sum of $176.5mn by investing in two office buildings that year, it alleged. However, the bottom line of that according to the paper is that President didn’t’ pay any taxes at all against all form of incomes and money made.
It also alleged that the Republican has been using a tax code that enables businessmen to “carry forward leftover losses to reduce taxes in future years”.