President Donald Trump paid extremely little in income taxes in recent years as heavy losses from his business enterprises offset hundreds of millions of dollars in income, the New York Times reported on Sunday, citing tax-return data.
The Times reported that Trump, who is seeking re-election in November, paid just $750 in federal income taxes in both 2016 and 2017, and paid no income taxes in 10 of the last 15 years, despite receiving $427.4 million through 2018 from his reality television program and other endorsement and licensing deals.
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Trump was able to minimize his tax bill by reporting heavy losses across his business empire. The Times reported Trump claimed $47.4 million in losses in 2018, despite claiming income of at least $434.9 million in a financial disclosure that year.
Trump denied the report on Sunday, calling it "total fake news" at a White House news conference. 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 income tax finding.
Trump has consistently refused to release his taxes, departing from standard practice for presidential candidates, saying they are under audit.
The Times said it had obtained tax-return data covering over two decades for Trump and companies within his business organization. It did not have information about his personal returns from 2018 or 2019.
The Times also reported that Trump is currently embroiled in a decade-long Internal Revenue Service audit over a $72.9 million tax refund he claimed after declaring large losses. If the IRS rules against him in that audit, he could have to pay over $100 million, according to the newspaper.