WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump has relied on heavy losses across his business empire to help nearly erase his federal income tax bill, according to a report on Sunday (Sep 27) from the New York Times.
Citing previously unseen tax-return data going back over 20 years, the New York Times shed new light on Trump's finances. Trump dismissed the story as "fake news" at a news conference on Sunday. Here are some highlights:
SMALL TAX BILL
In 2016 and 2017, Trump paid just US$750 in federal income taxes, according to the Times. In 10 of the previous 15 years, Trump paid no federal income taxes at all. Despite reporting hundreds of millions of dollars in income, Trump effectively erased his tax bill by reporting heavy losses across his business interests.
Some of Trump's most prominent real estate holdings have also been less than profitable, the New York Times reported. Trump reported losing over US$315 million on golf courses since 2000, with much of that centered at Trump National Doral near Miami. The hotel he opened in the heart of Washington in 2016 has recorded over US$55 million in losses.
A BIG AUDIT
The New York Times report also found that Trump has been feuding with the Internal Revenue Service for the last decade over a nearly US$73 million tax refund he previously claimed. If the IRS were to prevail in its audit, which has seemingly stalled in recent years, Trump could be responsible for paying over US$100 million to the government.
The New York Times found that a large amount of Trump's profits came from selling Trump himself. It reported that the former reality television star reported making a combined US$427.4 million from 2004 to 2018 by selling his name and image through various endorsements and licensing deals.
Trump has been aggressive in claiming certain business expenses that further shrank his tax bill, according to the New York Times. That includes deductions on residences, aircraft and US$70,000 in hairstyling expenses tied to The Apprentice, his former television programme, and classifying a New York property described by the Trump Organization as a family retreat as an investment property to write off millions in property taxes.
LOANS COMING DUE
Hundreds of millions of dollars in loans he personally guaranteed will soon be due for repayment. The New York Times reported that Trump appeared to be responsible for US$421 million in loans coming due in the next four years.