President Donald Trump fired back at a report from The New York Times (NYT) claiming that he paid no income taxes for much of the last decade, slamming the story as “fake news” and insisting that the documents NYT obtained from an unnamed source are “wrong” and “totally made up” — and an attorney for the Trump Organization agrees.
The NYT report, which dropped late Sunday, appears to show Trump and his signature companies often paid little or no federal income taxes and that the president, who prior to being elected to the White House was a real estate developer, carried over his real estate losses and took advantage of available deductions and tax credits to lessen his overall tax burden.
Trump, though, in a press conference Sunday and again in a series of tweets Monday morning, flatly denied paying such a small amount in taxes, and called the report “totally made up.”
“It’s fake news, it’s totally made up,” Trump told media Sunday. “Everything was wrong, they are so bad.”
“I’ve paid a lot and I’ve paid a lot of state income taxes too,” he added.
On social media, the president defended his use of depreciation, tax credits, and tax offsets, adding that the NYT tax documents were incomplete and that he may release a financial statement showing the extent of his assets.
“The Fake News Media, just like Election time 2016, is bringing up my Taxes & all sorts of other nonsense with illegally obtained information & only bad intent. I paid many millions of dollars in taxes but was entitled, like everyone else, to depreciation & tax credits,” Trump tweeted Monday. “Also, if you look at the extraordinary assets owned by me, which the Fake News hasn’t, I am extremely under leveraged — I have very little debt compared to the value of assets.”
“Much of this information is already on file, but I have long said that I may release financial Statements, from the time I announced I was going to run for President, showing all properties, assets and debts. It is a very IMPRESSIVE Statement, and also shows that I am the only President on record to give up my yearly $400,000 plus Presidential Salary!” he continued.
The documents do contain some interesting revelations: notably that the president does not appear to have financial connections to Russia — something Democrats continually claim — and that the president is under perpetual audit by the IRS over at least one of the claimed deductions, a $72.9 million tax refund he claimed in 2010 to offset massive earnings — and an associated massive tax bill — from his time on NBC’s “The Apprentice,” and from his involvement with the Trump Taj Mahal hotel and casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
“Mr. Trump initially paid almost $95 million in federal income taxes over the 18 years. He later managed to recoup most of that money, with interest, by applying for and receiving a $72.9 million tax refund, starting in 2010,” Dnyuz.com reported Monday. “In 2011, the I.R.S. began an audit reviewing the legitimacy of the refund. Almost a decade later, the case remains unresolved, for unknown reasons, and could ultimately end up in federal court, where it could become a matter of public record.”
Trump’s personal brand creates the majority of his income, the documents note, while his properties represent a large portion of his losses. Like many real estate developers, though, Trump appears to keep his investments on the books even if they aren’t profitable in order to help offset other tax burdens.
An attorney for the Trump Organization, Alan Garten, backed up Trump’s claims to the NYT, noting that 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.”
“The New York Times’ story is riddled with gross inaccuracies. Over the past decade the President has paid tens of millions of dollars in personal taxes to the federal government,” Garten said in a statement to media. “While we tried to explain this to the Times, they refused to listen and rejected our repeated request that they show us any of the documentation they purport to be relying on to substantiate their claims.”