In ten of the 15 years up to 2017, he had not paid any income tax, it said. Trump claimed heavy losses from various business areas. According to the paper, the president faces financial hardship in a decades-long legal battle with the tax authority IRS.
In an initial reaction, Trump called the report a “total fake news”. He accused the media of “just like before the 2016 election my taxes and all sorts of other mischief with illegal information and only with bad intent”. He will publish his tax returns when the IRS has been auditing for years. He had already claimed that in the 2016 election campaign. It’s a long tradition for U.S. presidential candidates to disclose their tax records that Trump broke.
Trump points to payments to New York
The figures now published by the New York Times (“NYT”) relate to federal taxes. Trump did not openly deny the accuracy of the information, but referred to other levies that he had paid: “I paid a lot, I also paid a lot of taxes to the state, New York state charges a lot.”
According to its own account, the “NYT” received access to tax documents over a period of more than two decades, which affect the president and hundreds of companies in his business empire. This includes information about the first two years of his term in office. However, documents for 2018 and 2019 are not available.
The data was based on information provided by Trump himself, and numerous questions such as the size of his wealth remained unanswered. The newspaper specifically wrote that the documents did not contain any new evidence of ties to Russia.
Litigation with tax authorities
According to “NYT”, the documents include very detailed lists. In connection with his TV series “The Apprentice”, for example, Trump deducted 70,000 dollars in hair care costs from taxes. According to the report, he is embroiled in a lawsuit with the IRS over a year ago tax refund of nearly $ 73 million.
Should the authority prevail, Trump would have to pay the federal government over $ 100 million. In the United States, the federal, state, and local governments collect their taxes separately. The head of the opposition Democrats in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, already turned to the voters: “Anyone who has paid more federal income tax than President Trump,” should raise their hands, wrote Schumer on Twitter.
The answer from Trump’s lawyer
Alan Garten, a lawyer for the Trump Organization, of the “NYT” confronted with the research, replied that Trump had in the past ten years “paid millions of dollars in personal taxes to the federal agency, including millions of personal taxes since his presidential candidacy was announced in 2015” . According to “NYT,” Garten mixes income tax here with other federal taxes and charges, such as social security, Medicare and household employee charges.
On Monday, Trump himself announced via Twitter that he had paid “many millions of dollars in taxes”. Like everyone else, however, he has a right to depreciation and tax rebates. His debts are small in relation to his assets.
Trump keeps documents secret
Evidence for the respective representations was not available. The “NYT” refused to publish the original documents with reference to source protection. Trump, for his part, keeps his tax returns under lock and key, contrary to US presidential practice.
He justified this with the ongoing tax audit by the IRS. Trump’s finances are under investigation, including by the Democratic-ruled House of Representatives. Deutsche Bank was also one of Trump’s most important financiers. Investigations have been ongoing for years.
Over the next four years, more than $ 300 million in total loans will fall due – loans for which Trump is personally liable, according to the newspaper. According to the “NYT”, the documents give the most detailed insight so far into the “business empire of the president”. They would reveal the clayey feet of his company. The documents also showed the “magic” behind Trump’s self-made billionaire image. “Ultimately, Mr. Trump was more successful in playing a business mogul than being one in real life,” said the NYT.
Trump’s most important tax trick
According to the newspaper, Trump had paid zero cents income tax for years, even though he made $ 427.4 million over the years for his half participation in the “Apprentice” show. At the same time he made heavy losses with his third mainstay – companies that belong to him personally. But these losses were often higher than was possible to write off income tax in the respective year.
According to “NYT” Trump used a possibility in US tax law that allows entrepreneurs under certain conditions to use remaining losses for depreciation in subsequent years. Trump used this opportunity extensively: he used the almost one billion dollar loss in the early 1990s for write-offs for 18 years.
$ 70,000 in hairdressing expenses
The detail from the report that Trump had more than $ 70,000 in hairdressing expenses tax deducted during the time of “The Apprentice” caused derision on the Internet. For his daughter Ivanka, nine Trump companies had deducted costs of $ 95,464 for hairstyles and make-up.
Two days before the first TV debate
The new report was released two days before the Republican’s much-anticipated first presidential debate with Democratic challenger Joe Biden. The race is very close in some major states. The election will take place on November 3rd.