The report by New York Times reveal “chronic losses and years of tax avoidance” just days before US President Donald Trump’s first presidential debate with Democratic rival Joe Biden and weeks before the 3 November election.
The report said, Trump paid no federal income tax in 10 of the past 15 years, and just $750 in federal taxes in 2016 and 2017.
Mr Trump has faced legal challenges for refusing to share documents concerning his fortune and business. He is the first president since the 1970s not to make his tax returns public, though this is not required by law.
According to New York Times, Trump actually paid more taxes to foreign governments than the U.S. in 2017, with tax payments of $15,598 that he or his companies paid to Panama, $145,400 to India and $156,824 to the Philippines.
The report found that Trump has written off a long list of things he classified as business expenses, including $70,000 to his hair stylist while appearing on “The Apprentice,” and more than $95,000 for hair and makeup services for his daughter, Ivanka Trump, who’s now a top White House aide.
The Times also reported that Trump has hundreds of millions of dollars in debt coming due, and is still engaged in a decade-long dispute with the Internal Revenue Service over a $72.9 million tax refund that he claimed after reporting business losses. Trump reportedly could be on the hook for more than $100 million if he loses that claim.
Trump in 2016 said avoiding paying taxes “makes me smart,” the returns show little accounting wizardry, instead ” showing that he is simply pouring more money into many businesses than he is taking out,” the Times said, with most of his core U.S. properties losing millions or even tens of millions of dollars a year.
The Times said information in its report was “provided by sources with legal access to it”.
It also said he earned $73 million abroad in his first two years in the White House, including from authoritarian-leaning countries such as the Philippines and Turkey, despite a pledge that he would pursue no new foreign deals while president.
However, Trump has called the report “fake news”.
“Actually I paid tax. And you’ll see that as soon as my tax returns – it’s under audit, they’ve been under audit for a long time,” he told reporters after the story was published on Sunday
“The IRS [Internal Revenue Service] does not treat me well… they treat me very badly,” he said.