Donald Trump’s Taxes: $750 dollars paid in income taxes in 2016 and 2017, says New York Times report

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Cameron Hailey, Staff Writer

On Sept. 27, the New York Times released a report on the tax returns of President Trump. In the report, Trump paid $750 in 2016, which was his first year in office.

Before the first presidential debate, the report was told on the findings from tax data on President Donald Trump. This information has been in news circulation for years and has appeared in court cases leading to a subpoena of the return data. The appeals court ruled on Oct. 7 that Trump’s tax returns must be sent to the Manhattan District Attorney. This ruling enforces the subpoena which Trump’s team has been in a year-long battle over.

Even with the decision to subpoena the tax returns, the public had not heard what Trump had paid in federal income taxes for the past 15 years until the New York Times report from Russ Buettner, Susanne Craig and Mike McIntire released this article in late September.

Patrick Gourley, an assistant professor of economics at the University of New Haven said, “Part of it did not surprise me, in the United States we tax income and not wealth. If Trump is donating his salary back, like many Presidents before him, his income may be very low currently.”

The report said, “He had paid no income taxes at all in 10 of the previous 15 years — largely because he reported losing much more money than he made.”

Trump has been in an audit battle for the last decade with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and it could cost him upwards of $100 million, says the NYT report. The battle is over a $72.9 million tax refund primarily from losses.

Gourley said about the IRS audit battle, “The IRS just isn’t being funded the way it should, the US has some of the most complex tax codes in the world. It makes it difficult to do its due diligence and investigate the cases.”

The report accounts for income taxes and does not account for Social Security, Medicare and other taxes. But the report does include many tax write-offs, the Times said, such as consulting fees adding up to millions of dollars, and even expenses such as $70,000 dollars in haircuts. The largest, however, was a refund of $72.9 million. This was claimed due to a reported $1.4 billion loss from his businesses in just 2008 and 2009. Currently, this refund is under investigation by the I.R.S says NYT’s report.

According to the Times, the president’s businesses have lost money for a majority of the years since 2000, with his golf courses losing upwards of $315 million and Hotel Washington losing more than $55 million. His personal brand, however, has been profitable, his image, through television, and products have made the president $427.4 million from 2004 to 2018, according to his returns. Under the current tax system, businesses that suffer financial losses can write-off those losses for a tax reduction.

Gourley said, “It is important for the tax code to be consistent, if we agree a smaller golf course can write off expenses, then someone with 50 golf courses should also be able to.”

In a tweet about the tax report, Democratic presidential candidate Joseph Biden said, “The American people deserve transparency from their leaders, it’s why as of today, I’ve released 22 years of my tax returns.”

Biden and his wife, Jill Biden paid $299,346 from a taxable income of $944,737 combined in 2019, a rate of 31 percent. Vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff reported $3,018,127 in income, and 39 percent of that being taxed at $1,185,628.

When asked about the tax reports in a press briefing on Sept. 27, Trump ended the briefing. A question during the first presidential debate was asked about his tax returns. Trump responded saying he paid millions of dollars in income taxes.