PRESIDENT Donald Trump paid little or no federal income tax for years before becoming president, according to a New York Times report. The revelations come just weeks before the US elections.
President Trump paid just $750 (€644) in federal income taxes in 2016, the year he ran for president and in 2017, his first year in the White House, according to a report Sunday in The New York Times.
He also paid no federal income taxes in 10 of the past 15 years because he reported losing more money than he made, the report said.
Trump has fiercely guarded his tax filings and is the only US president in modern times not to make them public, despite saying he would.
The report comes at a pivotal moment ahead of the first presidential debate Tuesday and weeks before a divisive election against Democrat rival Joe Biden.
The disclosure comes from tax return data the Times obtained extending over 20 years.
Trump dismissed the accusations as “totally fake news,” during a press conference on Sunday.
“First of all, I paid a lot and I paid a lot of state income taxes too … It’ll all be revealed,” the Republican president said.
Democrats jumped on the allegations, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying it showed “Trump’s disdain for America’s working families.”
Biden’s campaign team posted a tweet stating how much federal income tax had been paid by teachers ($7,239), firefighters ($5,283) and nurses ($10,216) — workers who have been hit hard by the global coronavirus pandemic and US wildfires — in comparison to Trump.
How did Trump reduce his tax bill?
The report in the Times showed that Trump found multiple ways to reduce his tax bill.
He took tax deductions on personal expenses such as housing, aircraft and $70,000 to style his hair while he filmed a reality TV game show named “The Apprentice.”
Losses in the property businesses solely owned and managed by Trump appear to have offset income from his stake in the game show and other entities with multiple owners.
During the first two years of his presidency, Trump relied on business tax credits to reduce his tax obligations. The Times said $9.7 million worth of business investment credits that were submitted after Trump requested an extension to file his taxes allowed him to offset his obligations and pay just $750 each in 2016 and 2017.
From 2010 onwards, Trump reduced his tax bill via a $72.9 million tax refund that is the subject of an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) audit, said the Times report.