US President Donald Trump’s businesses reported losses of $1.17 billion from 1985 to 1994, The New York Times reported Tuesday, citing information from tax documents from those years.
It appears Trump lost more money than nearly any other individual US taxpayer year after year, the Times reports, according to the 10 years of tax information the newspaper acquired.
Trump ran for president branding himself as a self-made billionaire, touting his financial success, but he has been steadfast in his refusal to release his tax returns to the public, despite mounting pressure from Congress.
On Monday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin formally denied a request from the House Ways and Means Committee for Trump’s last six years of tax returns, a period not covered by the documents reported by The Times on Tuesday.
In 1990 and 1991, Trump’s core business losses were more than $250 million each year — more than double those of the closest taxpayers in those years, the Times reports.
Trump lost so much money that he avoided paying income taxes for eight of the 10 years, according to the newspaper.
The Times previously reported that Trump helped “his parents dodge taxes” in the 1990s, including “instances of outright fraud,” and that he and his siblings helped his parents hide millions of dollars in gifts in a “sham corporation.”
Trump, starting at the age of 3, received at least $413 million in today’s dollars from his father’s real estate empire, the Times previously reported.
The Times did not obtain Trump’s tax returns, but someone who had legal access to the returns gave the newspaper information about their contents. The Times then matched the information to figures in the public database of IRS information on top earners, where identifying details are removed.
The Times used other public documents to confirm significant findings and used confidential Trump family tax and financial records the newspaper had previously acquired.
Trump on Wednesday morning defended his actions, tweeting that developers during that time “were entitled to massive write-offs and depreciation which would if one was actively building, show losses and tax losses in almost all cases.
” He also said it was advantageous to “show losses for tax purposes” in order to renegotiate with banks and called the Times’ report a “highly inaccurate Fake News hit job,” though he didn’t specifically cite anything incorrect about the story.
Several weeks ago, a senior White House official told the Times, “The President got massive depreciation and tax shelter because of large-scale construction and subsidized developments. That is why the President has always scoffed at the tax system and said you need to change the tax laws. You can make a large income and not have to pay a large amount of taxes.”
On Saturday, Charles J. Harder, a lawyer for the President, told the Times that the tax information the newspaper acquired was “demonstrably false” and that the Times’ statements “about the President’s tax returns and business from 30 years ago are highly inaccurate.” He didn’t cite any specific errors, according to the newspaper.
On Tuesday, Harder told the Times, “IRS transcripts, particularly before the days of electronic filing, are notoriously inaccurate” and “would not be able to provide a reasonable picture of any taxpayer’s return.”