The New York Times has reported that US President Donald Trump paid only $750 in federal income taxes in both 2016 and 2017, citing tax return data.
Trump also paid no income taxes in 10 of the last 15 years, the newspaper reported on Sunday, despite receiving $427.4m through 2018 from his reality television program and other endorsement and licensing deals.
The US president is worth an estimated $2.1bn, down by $1bn during the coronavirus pandemic, according to the latest estimate by Forbes magazine.
For years, Trump has refused to make public his tax records and has fought legal efforts compelling him to do so, saying they are under audit.
According to the New York Times report, Trump was able to minimise his tax bill by reporting heavy losses across his business empire.
The Times reported Trump claimed $47.4m in losses in 2018, despite claiming income of at least $434.9m in a financial disclosure that year.
The newspaper reported that the president is also facing a “decade-long audit battle with the Internal Revenue Service over the legitimacy of a $72.9m tax refund that he claimed, and received, after declaring huge losses.” It said an adverse ruling “could cost him more than $100m”.
“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.”
“Actually, I paid tax, and you’ll see that as soon as my tax returns – It’s under audit, they’ve been under audit for a long time.”
Alan Garten, a lawyer for the Trump Organization, said in a statement to the New York Times that “most, if not all, of the facts appear to be inaccurate”.
“Over the past decade, President Trump has paid tens of millions of dollars in personal taxes to the federal government, including paying millions in personal taxes since announcing his candidacy in 2015,” Mr Garten said in a statement, according to Al Jazeera reports.