The New York Times obtained Donald Trump’s tax information extending over more than two decades. The long-concealed records show Trump’s chronic losses and years of tax avoidance, struggling properties, vast write-offs, an audit battle, and hundreds of millions in debt coming due.
NEW YORK CITY (The New York Times) – For decades, Donald J. Trump has said he is a “self-made billionaire,” a “master” in the art of the deal and negotiation, and the “greatest American businessman.” Yet, his taxes reveal a very different image of his “success.”
Donald Trump has paid no income taxes at all in 10 of the previous 15 years — primarily because he reported losing much more money than he made. Except for 750 dollars in federal income taxes the year he won the presidency. In his first year in the White House, he paid another $750.
As Trump now wages a re-election campaign that polls say he is in danger of losing, his finances are under mayor stress, beset by losses. Hundreds of millions of dollars in debt coming due that he has personally guaranteed. Also hanging over him is a decade-long audit battle with the Internal Revenue Service over the legitimacy of a $72.9 million tax refund that he claimed, and received, after declaring huge losses. An adverse ruling could very well cost him more than $100 million.
The tax returns
Trump has long fought to keep private a very different story from the one he has sold to the American public. His reports to the I.R.S. portray a businessman who takes hundreds of millions of dollars a year yet racks up chronic losses that he aggressively employs to avoid paying taxes. Now, with his financial challenges mounting, the records show that he depends more and more on making money from businesses that put him in potential and often direct conflict of interest with his job as president.
The New York Times has obtained tax-return data extending over more than two decades for Mr. Trump and the hundreds of companies that make up his business organization, including detailed information from his first two years in office. It does not include his returns for 2018 or 2019. The NYT article offers an overview of the findings; additional reports will be published in the coming weeks.
The returns are some of the most sought-after and speculated-about records in recent memory. In Mr. Trump’s nearly four years in office — and across his endlessly hyped decades in the public eye — journalists, prosecutors, opposition politicians, and conspiracists have, with limited success, sought to excavate the enigmas of his finances.
By their very nature, the filings will leave many questions unanswered, many questioners unfulfilled. They comprise information that Mr. Trump has disclosed to the I.R.S., not the findings of an independent financial examination. They report that Mr. Trump owns hundreds of millions of dollars in valuable assets, but they do not reveal his actual wealth. Nor do they show any previously unreported connections to Russia.
According to the newspaper, Trump’s finances are under pressure due to hundreds of millions of dollars of debt that have expired and guaranteed that he would pay personally.
As usual, Trump calls the New York Times revelation “fake news.”
In response, at a White House press conference, Trump claimed the information is “fake news” and lashed out at The New York Times for writing “negative” stories about him.
Besides, he affirmed that the I.R.S. “treats him very badly,” explained that his taxes are being audited by that organization, and promised that he would make them public once that process is completed.
“Everything will be revealed after the audit is over. They (I.R.S. officials) are doing their assessment, we have been negotiating for a long time, they are being audited, the story is totally untrue,” Trump said, adding: “I’m looking forward to publishing them, I am looking forward to making that public and much more.”
Likewise, quoted in the article in The New York Times, one of the lawyers for the Trump Organization, Alan Garten, said that “most, if not all, of the facts, appears to be inaccurate” and demanded that the newspaper deliver the documents in those on which the article is based, which have not been made public.”
Democrats in Congress have tried to force Trump to make his taxes public, but have been unsuccessful. The Manhattan prosecution has also claimed Trump’s tax returns from the accounting firm he worked with, called Mazars, as part of an investigation into whether the now-president’s secret campaign money payments to the porn actress Stormy Daniels violated New York State law. In that case, Trump has also refused to release his taxes.
This story barely begins.
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