Washington: President Donald Trump paid just $750 in federal income taxes in both 2016 and 2017. He did so after years of reporting heavy losses from his business enterprises. In the process Donald Trump managed to offset hundreds of millions of dollars in income. This report was published in the New York Times, Sunday. The newspaper had cited, citing tax-return data.
Trump however, dismissed the news as ‘fake. The NYT also said the Republican president failed to pay federal income taxes in 10 of the previous 15 years through 2017. He did so even after receiving $427.4 million through 2018 from his reality television programme. There were incomes from other endorsement and licensing deals.
The disclosure of previously private tax information came little more than a month before the November 3 election between Trump and Democrat Joe Biden. Democrats were quick to seize on the report to paint Trump as a tax dodger. They also raised questions about his carefully groomed image as a savvy businessman.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer took to Twitter to ask Americans a simple question. He asked them to raise their hands if they paid more in federal income tax than Trump.
The report was called ‘total fake news’ at a White House news conference by Trumo. He cited an ongoing audit as his reason for not releasing his returns. In a statement to NYT, Alan Garten, a lawyer for the Trump Organisation, said Trump had paid millions of dollars in personal taxes over the last decade.
Trump’s consistent refusal to release his taxes has been a departure from standard practice for presidential candidates. He is in a legal battle with New York City prosecutors and Democrats who are seeking to obtain his returns. Trump also previously indicated he preferred to minimise his tax bill. He said in a 2016 presidential debate it made him ‘smart’.
The New York Times reported that Trump was able to minimise his tax bill by reporting heavy losses across his business empire. It said he claimed $47.4 million in losses in 2018. However, in a separate financial disclosure Trump had said he had income of at least $434.9 million 2018.
NYT emphasised the documents reveal only what Trump told the government about his businesses, and did not disclose his true wealth. New York Times said it had obtained tax-return data covering over two decades for Trump and companies within his business organisation. It did not have information about his personal returns from 2018 or 2019.