Trump spurns ‘fake news’ report of $1.5m tax paid in nine years

NYT claim Trump lost more cash than any other US individual during years in question

Donald Trump dismissed the New York Times reporting as a ‘highly inaccurate fake news hit job!’. File photograph: Brendan Smialowski/Getty

Donald Trump dismissed the New York Times reporting as a ‘highly inaccurate fake news hit job!’. File photograph: Brendan Smialowski/Getty

 

US president Donald Trump dismissed as “fake news” a New York Times article that claimed he paid just $1.5 million in income tax between 1985 and 1994

The president took to twitter on Tuesday to respond to the wide-ranging report which alleges that Mr Trump racked up over $1 billion in losses between those years when he was building his real estate and casino businesses.

He claimed that “almost all” real estate developers racked up losses for tax purposes, and defended the practice as “sport.”

“Real estate developers in the 1980s and 1990s, more than 30 years ago, were entitled to massive write-offs and depreciation which would, if one was actively building, show losses and tax losses in almost all cases,” he said.

“It was sport,” he added.

He then dismissed the New York Times reporting as a “highly inaccurate fake news hit job!”

Drawing from documents from the Inland Revenue Service (IRS) and other sources, the New York Times article claims that Mr Trump lost more money than any other US individual during the years in question.

The author of bestseller The Art of the Deal based part of his presidential campaign on highlighting his success as a businessman. But the newspaper report suggests he spent a significant part of his career deeply in debt. The New York Times also previously reported that Mr Trump received at least $413 million in today’s dollars from his father.

Mr Trump’s financial situation has been the subject of intense speculation after he became the first president in more than 40 years not to release his tax returns.

Politically sensitive information

Earlier this week, treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin announced that he would not release six years of Mr Trump’s tax returns which were requested by the Ways and Means committee in the House of Representatives.

The committee cited a 1924 law which allows certain congressional committees to request tax information related to individuals.

In response to the treasury’s refusal to provide the president’s tax returns, committee chairman Richard Neal said he would consult legal counsel for the House of Representatives and announce the next step by the end of the week. The committee could issue a subpoena demanding the documents or go directly to the courts to compel the treasury to release them.

But in a potential blow for Mr Trump, the Democratically-controlled New York state senate passed a Bill on Wednesday that would allow the president’s tax returns to be passed to Congress.

The upper chamber voted by 39 to 22 to back the proposal; it will now go to the state legislature.

The Bill would allow the commissioner of the New York Department of Taxation and Finance to release any state tax return to any of three committees in Congress. Because Mr Trump based his business in New York this could mean that the bulk of the president’s tax affairs could be released to congressional committees.

Democratic governor Andrew Cuomo, a frequent critic of Mr Trump, has indicated he would sign the Bill into law.