Business Maverick

2020 United States Election

New York Times: Trump paid no income tax in 10 of last 15 years

Donald Trump. (Photo: Stefani Reynolds / Sipa / Bloomberg via Getty Images)
By Reuters
28 Sep 2020 9

President Donald Trump paid just $750 in federal income taxes in both 2016 and 2017, after years of reporting heavy losses from his business enterprises to offset hundreds of millions of dollars in income, the New York Times reported on Sunday, citing tax-return data.

In a report that Trump dismissed as “fake news”, the Times said the Republican president also paid no federal income taxes in 10 of the previous 15 years through 2017, despite receiving $427.4 million through 2018 from his reality television programme and 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 and raise questions about his carefully groomed image as a savvy businessperson.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer took to Twitter to ask Americans to raise their hands if they paid more in federal income tax than Trump.

Calling the report “total fake news” at a White House news conference, Trump again cited an ongoing audit as his reason for not releasing his returns. In a statement to the Times, Alan Garten, a lawyer for the Trump Organisation, said Trump had paid millions of dollars in personal taxes over the last decade, without weighing in on the specific finding of minimal income taxes.
Trump’s consistent refusal to release his taxes has been a departure from standard practice for presidential candidates. He is currently in a legal battle with New York City prosecutors and congressional Democrats who are seeking to obtain his returns.

He also previously indicated he preferred to minimise his tax bill, saying in a 2016 presidential debate it made him “smart”.

The 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, despite saying he had income of at least $434.9 million in a financial disclosure that year.

The Times emphasised that the documents reveal only what Trump told the government about his businesses, and did not disclose his true wealth.

The 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.

The Times also reported that Trump was currently embroiled in a decade-long Internal Revenue Service (IRS) audit over a $72.9 million tax refund he claimed after declaring large losses. If the IRS rules against him in that audit, he could have to pay over $100 million, according to the newspaper. DM

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All Comments 9

  • His base will still see him as a hero. Trump has revealed the gullibility of voting public around the world – We, us voters, need to reconsider if we live with democracy or idiocracy!

  • And the useful idiots will still vote for him classic cult mentality. I think it gives the bottom feeders something to cling to, he promises them everything but enriches himself and his billionaire friends.

  • Ever since the idea of democracy became an aspiration rather than a fear or threat, political actors have argued that citizens must be knowledgeable for it to function well. Aristotle sought to avoid democracy, largely on the grounds of popular ignorance: “What are the matters over which… the general body of citizens… should properly exercise sovereignty? It… is dangerous for men of this sort to share in the highest offices, as injustice may lead them into wrongdoing, and thoughtlessness into error” (Aristotle 1946: 124). Several millennia later, American radicals agreed with the diagnosis, but proposed a different solution. Thomas Jefferson prescribed “two great measures,… without which no republic can maintain itself in strength: 1. That of general education, to enable every man to judge for himself what will secure or endanger his freedom. 2. To divide every county … [so] that all the children of each will be within reach of a central school in it” (Thomas Jefferson to John Tyler, 1810, in (Jefferson 1903-04), v. 12, p. 393). Benjamin Franklin agreed: “Nothing can more effectually contribute to the Cultivation and Improvement of a Country, the Wisdom, Riches, and Strength, Virtue and Piety, the Welfare and Happiness of a People, than a proper Education of youth” (Franklin 1962 [1749]: 152-153).

  • Donald Trump has spent his entire life trying to win the approval of two dead people. His Father, Fred Trump and his lawyer Roy Cohn. Every word from his mouth comes straight from his father’s and Roy Cohn’s play book. Both cheated and played the system to their maximum advantage. Hopefully, on November 3rd the US people will tell him “your fired”!

  • Is education the answer? Most of us have believed that. But today’s growing tribalism builds on some very basic instincts which often override university degrees (and common sense) … on top of which, today you need not only a good head (and common sense) but a load of time and effort to sort through all the fake news and non-truth … still, 1000 thanks to DM and co for doing some of that work for us