National Post (Latest Edition)


- Bianca Bharti

U.S. President Donald Trump paid $750 in federal income taxes in both 2016 and 2017, an investigat­ion by the New York Times published Sunday revealed. Here are five key revelation­s from the Times’ investigat­ion:

1. The president has paid virtually $0 in federal taxes in the past two decades

In 11 of the past 18 years, the president did not pay any income taxes to the federal government. In addition, for 2016 and 2017, he paid $750.

Despite an overall decline in how much the ultra- wealthy pay in federal taxes, America’s affluent still contribute a substantia­l portion to federal income tax. In 2017, the average federal income tax rate for the top 0.001 per cent of America’s highest earning tax filers was 24.1 per cent.

Each year for the past two decades the Times investigat­ion examined, Trump paid $ 400 million less in combined federal income tax than those in the highest tax bracket. While in office, Barack Obama and George W. Bush paid more than $100,000 a year.

2. Trump received a $72.9-million refund from the IRS

Trump earned huge success with his reality TV show The Apprentice, which saw his tax bill rise. He initially paid $ 95 million in federal income taxes over the 18 years, but later recouped most of that money starting in 2010. The president applied for and received a $72.9 million tax refund, which also included interest.

In 2011, the IRS began an audit of the refund but nearly a decade later, the case remains unsolved for unknown reasons.

3. The report indicates Trump leveraged his business losses to avoid paying taxes

Trump found large success in selling his image of an ultra- wealthy businessma­n who made his fortune through shrewd business management. From 2004 to 2018, the Times calculated he made $427.4 million from selling his image — through his show The Apprentice and other firms paying for rights to use his name, especially in real estate.

At the same time, since 2000, Trump has reported losing more than $315 million at his golf courses, the heart of his real estate empire. He has also posted large losses from his businesses.

He has used his business losses to offset the fat profits from selling his brand. The Trump Organizati­on — a collection of more than 500 entities, nearly all owned entirely by Trump — then used the losses to claim the organizati­on earned no money and therefore does not owe taxes.

4. Many personal expenses were written off as the cost of business, including $70,000 for hair styling

When filing taxes, companies can write off business expenses, which ultimately reduce their tax bills.

Trump’s residences are part of the family business, including his golf courses. The cost of his private aircraft, used to take him to his homes around the country, has been written off as a business expense. Haircuts were also written down as a business expense, including $70,000 to style his hair during his reality TV show and $100,000 paid to the hair and makeup artist of his daughter, Ivanka Trump.

5. Trump received money from lobbyists, politician­s and foreign officials

As a private businessma­n, Trump has received large amounts of money from lobbyists, politician­s and foreign officials.

Since 2015, a surge in new members at the famous Mar-a-lago resort in Florida brought in an additional $5 million each year. In 2017, the Billy Graham Evangelist­ic Associatio­n paid at least $397,000 to Trump’s Washington hotel, where it held at least one event during the World Summit in Defence of Persecuted Christians.

In 2016 and 2017, Trump received $3 million from the Philippine­s, $ 2.3 million from India and $ 1 million from Turkey for projects in those countries.

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