Trump has long tried to hide his taxes from public view, putting forward one bogus excuse after another. It was never quite clear what he was hiding, whether that he was not as wealthy as he claimed or that he cheated on his taxes or, more likely, both. The New York Times seems to have finally got the information and has released a report that says that Trump paid next to no taxes in the past ten years. They are going to publish analyses of his taxes but not the documents themselves I order to protect the source.
So what are the findings?
The Times reported that Trump paid no federal income taxes in 11 of 18 years the newspaper looked at. In 2017, after he became president, his tax bill was only $750. This is despite Trump often railing against taxes in America and ushering through a series of tax cuts that critics say mostly helps the rich and big business.
Trump is involved in a decade-long audit with the Internal Revenue Service over a $72.9m tax refund he claimed, and received, after declaring huge losses. A ruling against him could cost him more than $100m, the Times reported.
The president’s oldest daughter, while working as an employee of the Trump Organization, appears to have received “consulting fees” that helped reduce the family’s tax bill, the Times said.
The Times was brutal in its assessment of Trump’s businesses, about which he often boasts and on the back of which he sought to promote a carefully curated image as a master businessman. “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,” the newspaper said.
The newspaper also reported that Trump is facing a major financial bill, as within the next four years, hundreds of millions of dollars in loans will come due. The paper said Trump is personally responsible for many of those obligations.
He also reduced his taxes by claiming personal expenses as tax-deductible business expenses.
“Even while declaring losses, he has managed to enjoy a lavish lifestyle by taking tax deductions on what most people would consider personal expenses, including residences, aircraft and $70,000 in hairstyling for television,” the Times reported on Sunday.
“Ivanka Trump, while working as an employee of the Trump Organization, appears to have received ‘consulting fees’ that also helped reduce the family’s tax bill.”
The paper added: “Over the past two decades, Mr Trump has paid about $400m less in combined federal income taxes than a very wealthy person who paid the average for that group each year.”
Trump’s cult following, who routinely praise him for believing his claims that he is such a great businessman, will likely say that these reports of losses are just his clever way of avoiding taxes because in their mind, finding all manner of shady ways to not pay taxes is a sign of virtue, not a sign that you have no ethical sense or civic consciousness.