United States President Donald Trump paid just 750 dollars in federal income tax in 2016, the year he won the US presidential election, the New York Times wrote in an explosive investigative report late Sunday.
The president, a self-proclaimed billionaire, paid the same amount in 2017, and nothing at all in 10 of the 15 previous years largely because he lost so much more money than he made, the paper reported.
At a news conference held minutes after the newspaper published its report, Trump said it was “fake news” and claimed the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) “does not treat me well.”
“It will all be revealed, I paid a lot of taxes, I paid a lot of state taxes too. but when you under audit, you don’t publish them.
“I’m going to release many things and people are going to be shocked,” he told reporters.
The Times has long sought to get hold of Trump’s tax returns but the president has refused to release them, though his predecessors have traditionally done so.
On Sunday, the paper said it had got hold of more than two decades’ worth of returns, but that it did not include Trump’s personal returns for 2018 and 2019.
The revelations come just over a month before the US is set to vote in a new presidential election, with polls suggesting Trump is in danger of losing to his Democratic challenger Joe Biden.
The Times said its reporting showed that Trump, former star of the reality show “The Apprentice,” had been “more successful playing a business mogul than being one in real life.”
It also suggested that his financial condition in 2015 lent “some credence to the notion that his long-shot campaign was at least in part a gambit to reanimate the marketability of his name.”
A 2019 investigation by the Times of Trump tax returns it managed to get hold of, dating from 1985 to 1994, showed the president lost more money than almost any other individual US taxpayer in many years.
In Sunday’s report, the Times said he was “a businessman-president in a tightening financial vice,” with 300 million dollars worth of debt for which he is personally responsible coming due within the next four years.