Written by Jill Miller (Editor-In-Chief)
During the last week of September 2020, The New York Times released information that had been asked about since President Donald Trump began his presidential race in 2016 – a detailed report on his tax returns. Trump has been the only President in recent history (since Watergate) to not have his tax records released, excusing this multiple times by saying he would do it after he was done being audited or simply that it was unimportant because he won the electoral college. But now, The New York Times has revealed that in 2016 and 2017 President Trump paid a mere $750 each year in federal income taxes.
2016, the year Trump was elected and 2017, his first year in office, Trump paid a whopping $750 in income taxes. In eleven out of the eighteen years, the New York Times reviewed, Trump did not pay a single dollar in income taxes, despite supposedly being a billionaire. When this exposure came out to the public about Trump’s tax history, his first reaction was to call the article “fake news,” and that he has paid “millions” in income taxes. At the first Presidential debate for the 2020 presidential election when Trump was asked by moderator Chris Wallace about these tax returns, he simply stated, “It was the tax laws – I don’t want to pay tax.” He continued on to say that he paid “millions of dollars” in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017, which directly goes against the report of him paying only $750 dollars those two years.
For years Trump has been saying that there is “nothing to see” on his tax returns or that there is “nothing to learn from them.” But these public filings The New York Times writes about shows the public a lot more than “nothing.” In 2018 Trump announced that he had made at the very least $434.9 million, but instead, his tax returns reveal that he had lost about $47.4 million that year. On top of this, Trump’s debts are coming up fast, The New York Times reports that he must pay off $421 million in loans to unknown parties, most of which are due within the next four years. Also covered was how over the last 10-15 years, Trump’s business empire has generated millions in losses, allowing him to pay next to nothing on his taxes. The paper revealed that Trump has about $287 million dollars that he owes to his lenders since 2010, much more than was previously thought. Trump has supposedly paid about $95 million in taxes over the eighteen years that The New York Times studied, but he also claimed – and received – a staggering $72.9 million dollar federal tax refunds, while also pocketing about $21.2 million from state and local refunds. Because of this refund, from the years 2000-2017, Donald Trump only paid about $1.4 million in federal income taxes. Compare this number to what was paid by the top 0.001% over the same time period and it is clear that Trump paid about $23.6 million dollars less than what other billionaires with similar net worths paid.
Some of the questionable practices that were outed from his tax returns were things such as Trump paying his daughter Ivanka as an outside consultant while she was his employee, then deducting her salary expenses as a “cost of business” on his tax returns. Along with this, it was exposed that Trump has written off thousands of dollars for hairstyling for T.V. appearances on his tax returns as well. From this to Trump’s homes, planes, and golf courses were listed off as business expenses, qualifying these things for deductions and reducing Trump’s tax expenses. An example of this is the Trump family’s estate in Westchester County, New York, a large mansion which Trump classifies as an “investment property.” This lets him write off about $2.2 million property taxes as a mere “business expense,” even though Trump’s son, Eric Trump, describes the property as a “retreat” for their family.
This is just the beginning of the clarification on Trump’s tax returns, in the next few years, we will see more about his massive debts that must be paid, his seemingly unethical or simply illegal business dealings, and the end of the IRS audit against his taxes.