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Donald Trump 'paid $750 in income taxes in 2016 and 2017', US media report
28 September 2020, 06:01 | Updated: 28 September 2020, 15:19
Self-proclaimed billionaire Donald Trump only paid $750 (£578) in federal income taxes the year he ran for president and in his first year in the White House, US media reports have claimed.
According to the New York Times, which obtained two-decades worth of financial records, the US President paid no income tax at all in the US in 10 of the last 15 years.
The report also revealed that in 2016 and 2017, Trump or his companies paid tens of thousands of dollars of taxes in foreign countries, including $15,598 in Panama, $145,400 in India and $156,824 in the Philippines.
Trump campaigned for office as a billionaire real estate mogul and successful businessman, but his tax returns claim he made losses of hundreds of millions of dollars across a number of his businesses.
The newspaper said: "Trump’s core enterprises – from his constellation of golf courses to his conservative-magnet hotel in Washington – report losing millions, if not tens of millions, of dollars year after year."
Since 2000, Trump has claimed his golf courses have lost $315 million, with a large proportion of that being lost through rump National Doral in Florida.
His tax bill was also allegedly further reduced thanks to his eldest daughter, Ivanka Trump, who currently serves as a senior White House adviser alongside husband Jared Kushner.
She appears to have been paid as a "consultant" for the business.
The Times reported: “Trump’s private records show that his company once paid $747,622 in fees to an unnamed consultant for hotel projects in Hawaii and Vancouver, British Columbia. Ivanka Trump’s public disclosure forms – which she filed when joining the White House staff in 2017 – show that she had received an identical amount through a consulting company she co-owned.”
Trump has fiercely guarded his tax filings and is the only president in modern times not to make them public, and the report comes a little over a month before the US Presidential election.
Speaking at a press conference after the news broke, Trump claimed he had in fact paid taxes - although declined to give details - and dismissed the extensive investigation by the NYT as "fake news".
He said: “We went through the same stories, you could have asked me the same questions four years ago, I had to litigate this and talk about it.
“Totally fake news, no. 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 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 phony.”
When pressured on why he only paid a few hundred dollars in the run up to and first year of his presidency, Trump added: “First of all I paid a lot, and I paid a lot of state income taxes too. The New York state charges a lot and I paid a lot of money in state. It’ll all be revealed. It’s going to come out but after the audit.
Trump has long declined to release his tax returns, claiming for the past four years that he could not do so because they are under audit. But speaking last night he vowed that information about his taxes "will all be revealed".
However, he offered no timeline for the disclosure and made similar promises during the 2016 campaign on which he never followed through.
In fact, the president has fielded court challenges against those seeking access to his returns, including the US House, which is suing for access to President Trump's tax returns as part of congressional oversight.
A lawyer for the Trump Organisation, Alan Garten, and a spokesperson for the Trump Organisation did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press on the report.
Mr Garten told the Times that "most, if not all, of the facts appear to be inaccurate".
He said in a statement to the news organisation that the president "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".
During his first general election debate against Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016, Ms Clinton said that perhaps Mr Trump was not releasing his tax returns because he had paid nothing in federal taxes.
Mr Trump interrupted her to say: "That makes me smart."