According to a New York Times report on US president Donald Trump’s tax record, Trump paid only $750 in federal income taxes in both 2016 and 2017, and paid no income taxes in 10 of the last 15 years. This despite receiving $427.4m from his reality TV show and other endorsement and licensing deals. Trump is worth an estimated $2.1bn.
The Times said it had obtained Donald Trump’s tax data, and that of the companies in his organisation, covering over 20 years. It did not, however, have any data regarding his personal returns for 2018 and 2019. The report also stated that Trump received $73m from foreign operations in his first two years as US president.
According to the report, the US president was able to minimise his taxes by reporting heavy losses across his businesses. He also took tax deductions on multiple personal expenses, like housing, aircrafts and “$70,000 to style his hair while he filmed television reality show, The Apprentice”
As written by The Guardian, the New York Times report points out three key things: Trump is not very good at business, Trump is very good at avoiding taxes, Trump may have serious conflicts of interests with foreign powers.
This information blows massive holes in the image he’s created for himself as a successful businessman, self-proclaimed billionaire, and capable steward of the US economy. It could have staggering implications for his presidential campaign
At a press conference on Sunday, Trump denied the New York Times report, calling it “fake news”, reports Al Jazeera.
“It’s fake news, it’s totally fake news. Made up. Fake,” he told reporters.
“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. The [Internal Revenue Service] does not treat me well … they treat me very badly. You have people in the IRS – they treat me very badly.”
The president also added: “The New York Times tried it, the same thing, they want to create a little bit of a story. They’re doing anything they can. That’s the least of it. The stories that I read are so fake, they’re so phoney.”
Al Jazeera’s Heidi Zhou Castro said that the report has sent “shockwaves” across the country, as many middle-class American families pay $14,000 in federal taxes, on average.
“How he did this, a self-proclaimed multi-billionaire, is indeed an act of wizardry, as the newspaper describes,” she said.
This news not only highlights Trump’s dishonesty but also raises questions about tax avoidance by other billionaires.
For more on this developing story, and other international news, keep an eye on our News & Politics section.