Trump and Taxes
It looks as if the president paid $750 in taxes in both 2016 and 2017 — and for him, those were generous years.
Where things stand
Ever since he began his run for president in 2015, Donald Trump has fought tooth and nail to prevent the release of his tax returns. Five years later, we finally have a good sense of why.
The Times’s investigative reporting team has obtained the president’s tax-return data going back over two decades. And it reveals that in 10 of the 15 years before his election as president, Trump paid $0 in income tax. In 2016 and 2017, he paid just $750 a year.
He has achieved these staggeringly low tax payments largely thanks to the enormous losses that his businesses have taken over the years, as well as his accountants’ knack for claiming tax write-offs, which together have allowed him to claim next to no net income in many years.
The files obtained by The Times include documentation of Trump’s personal tax filings, as well as those of the hundreds of companies that make up his business empire.
They reveal that the president now finds himself under increasing financial duress as he continues to fight a decade-long legal battle with the Internal Revenue Service, which has challenged the legitimacy of a $72.9 million tax refund that he claimed — and received — after declaring huge losses. If he loses that battle, he could be stuck with a bill for more than $100 million.
In the past two decades, Trump has leaned heavily on revenue from endorsements and investments in other people’s businesses while taking large losses on the businesses that he runs. You can see an interactive timeline of his finances here.
At a news conference on Sunday night, Trump called the Times report “fake news.” As he has said falsely in the past, he claimed that he would release his tax returns to the public once he was no longer under audit. “I paid tax,” he said, offering no evidence.
With his financial challenges mounting, the records show that he increasingly depends on making money from businesses that may put him in direct conflict of interest with his job as president.
The New York Times