According to a new investigation into Donald Trump’s taxes, the president’s reality show could have been called The Biggest Loser.
A bombshell New York Times report revealed that Trump paid just $750 in federal income tax in 2017, the year he entered the White House.
The low number is due at least partially, according to the Times, to the claim that the self-proclaimed business genius took huge losses from his investments year after year.
Ever since his 2016 campaign, Trump had refused to release his tax returns — a standard for all presidential candidates and presidents dating back decades — by claiming they were “under audit.”
While not bound by the law or the Constitution, every candidate for president before Donald Trump released their tax returns in order to assure voters that they wouldn’t have significant conflicts of interest going into office. The New York Times report is the most comprehensive look into Trump’s financial situation to date.
Below are five huge takeaways from the New York Times’ report on Donald Trump’s tax returns.
The Times reports that while Trump initially paid $95 million in taxes over 18 years, however, he recovered $72.9 million of it through a federal tax refund. He also reportedly gained $21.2 million in state and local refunds, which are usually based on federal filings.
In 17 years, Trump only paid an average of $1.4 million in federal income tax each year, which is much lower than the average of $25 million each the top .001 percent of earners paid out over the same timeframe.
Trump’s perceived empire of luxurious golf courses, hotels and resorts has been a big loser financially. According to the Times, Trump has claimed $315 million in losses since 2000. It was reported last year that the Trump National Doral near Miami have suffered major losses in revenue earning over recent years, while the Trump International Hotel in Washington has lost $55 million since its opening.
The president has capitalized on costs incurred from his business to finance a luxurious lifestyle. The Times reports that while on his program The Apprentice, Trump has spent $70,000 on hair styling alone, not to mention his properties, golf courses and aircraft, which he has written off as business expenses.
One example includes Trump's Seven Springs estate in Westchester County, New York is a 50,000-square-foot mansion set on more than 200 acres. But because he classifies it as an investment property, he’s able to write off the land’s $2.2 million in property taxes as a business expense.
According to the Times, the president is responsible for $421 million in loans, which will mostly become due within the next four years. Additionally, a $100 million mortgage on Trump Tower in New York will also be due in 2022.
Lobbyists, foreign governments and politicians have spent significant funds on Trump’s properties since he first began running for president, which have in turn raised legal and ethical questions over foreign emoluments.
Since 2015, according to the Times, Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida has taken in $5 million more a year from a surge in membership. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has spent at least $397,602 in 2017 at Trump's Washington hotel. Overseas projects have produced millions more for Trump — $3 million from the Philippines, $2.3 million from India and $1 million from Turkey.
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