NY Times Reported Trump’s Evasion of Federal Taxes

New York Times reported on Sunday, September 27, 2020, that the Republican president Donald Trump has evaded federal taxes and paid just $750 in federal income taxes in both 2016 and 2017. The Times, which claimed to obtain a record of Donald Trump’s tax information extending over more than two decades, said that Trump avoided taxes on the ground that he had heavily lost from his business enterprise.

Democrats seized the opportunity, after the news, to attack Trump and his administration as the US presidential election is nearly a month away and painted the president as a tax dodger. In a report that Trump dismissed the claim as “fake news,” and insisted on his claims of tax returns due to losses.

Reflecting upon the information available about tax-return data, the Times emphasized that the documents were what Trump told the government about his businesses but he did not disclose his current personal wealth. The Times stated it did not have information about his personal returns from 2018 or 2019.

Trump’s Minimal Income Taxes

The Times said Trump also avoided paying federal income taxes in 10 of the previous 15 years through 2017 and the president earlier made his statements about minimizing his income taxes. In a 2016 presidential debate, Trump also stated that he preferred to minimize his tax bill and said, by doing so made him “smart.” The Times reported that Trump was able to minimize his tax bill by reporting heavy losses across his business empire, despite having a financial disclosure of income-earning of at least $434.9 from his reality television program and other endorsements and licensing deals.

Speaking at a White House news conference, Trump again cited an ongoing audit as his reason for not releasing his returns, by referring to the report “totally fake news”. In a statement to the Times, Alan Garten, a lawyer for the Trump Organization, said Trump had paid millions of dollars in personal taxes over the last decade, without weighing in on the specific finding of minimal income taxes.

Trump as Savvy Businessman

Citing Trump as a savvy businessman, Democrats raised questions about his business operations and tax evasion. A Senate Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer wrote in Twitter asking Americans to raise their hands if they paid more in federal income tax than Trump.

Meanwhile, Trump’s consistent refusal to release his taxes has been a departure from standard practice for presidential candidates. Currently, Trump is facing a legal battle with New York City prosecutors and congressional Democrats who are seeking to obtain his returns.

The Times also reported that Trump was currently embroiled in a decade-long Internal Revenue Service (IRS) audit over a $72.9 million tax refund he claimed after declaring large losses. According to the NY Times, If the IRS rules against him in that audit, he could have to pay over $100 million.