President Donald Trump paid just $750 in federal income taxes the year he ran for president and in his first year in the White House, according to a report in The New York Times.
Trump, who has fiercely guarded his tax filings and is the only president in modern times not to make them public, paid no federal income taxes in 10 of the past 15 years.
The details of the tax filings published Sunday complicate Trump’s description of himself as a shrewd and patriotic businessman, revealing instead a series of financial losses and income from abroad that could come into conflict with his responsibilities as president. The president’s financial disclosures indicated he earned at least $434.9 million in 2018, but the tax filings reported a $47.4 million loss.
The tax filings also illustrate how a reputed billionaire could pay little to nothing in taxes, while someone in the middle class could pay substantially more than him. Roughly half of Americans pay no income taxes, primarily because of how low their incomes are. But IRS figures indicate that the average tax filer paid roughly $12,200 in 2017, about 16 times more than what the president paid.
The disclosure, which the Times said comes from tax return data it obtained extending over two decades, comes at a pivotal moment ahead of the first presidential debate Tuesday and weeks before a divisive election against Democrat Joe Biden.
Speaking at a news conference Sunday at the White House, Trump dismissed the report as “fake news” and maintained he has paid taxes, though he gave no specifics. He also vowed that information about his taxes “will all be revealed,” but he offered no timeline for the disclosure and made similar promises during the 2016 campaign on which he never followed through.
In fact, the president has fielded court challenges against those seeking access to his returns, including the U.S. House, which is suing to get Trump's tax returns as part of congressional oversight.
During his first two years as president, Trump received $73 million from foreign operations, which in addition to his golf properties in Scotland and Ireland included $3 million from the Philippines, $2.3 million from India and $1 million from Turkey, among other nations. The president in 2017 paid $145,400 in taxes in India and $156,824 in the Philippines, compared to just $750 in U.S. income taxes. The Times said the tax records did not reveal any unreported connections to Russia.