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Trump's tax returns: A game changer for the presidential election?

DW, 28 Sep 2020
President Donald Trump paid just $750 (€644) in federal income taxes in 2016, the year he ran for president, and in 2017, his first year in the White House, according to a report Sunday in The New York Times. He also paid no federal income taxes in 10 of the past 15 years because he reported losing more money than he made, the report said. Trump has fiercely guarded his tax filings and is the only US president in modern times not to make them public, despite saying he would. The report comes at a pivotal moment ahead of the first presidential debate Tuesday and weeks before a divisive election against Democrat rival Joe Biden. The disclosure comes from tax return data the Times obtained extending over 20 years. Trump dismissed the accusations as "totally fake news," during a press conference on Sunday.

The details of the tax filings revealed a series of financial losses and income from abroad that could come into conflict with his responsibilities as president. Trump's financial disclosures indicated he earned at least $434.9 million in 2018, but the tax filings reported a $47.4 million loss, including from some of his best-known businesses. The president claimed $315 million in losses since 2000 on his golf courses, including the Trump National Doral near Miami that Trump has portrayed as a crown jewel in his business empire. During his first two years as president, Trump received $73 million from foreign operations. These included his golf properties in Scotland and Ireland as well as $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 US income taxes. The tax records did not reveal any unreported connections to Russia, reported the Times. They did, however, reveal that lobbyists, foreign governments and politicians had all spent significant sums of money at his properties including his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida since Trump began his presidential run. The report showed that Trump is set to face mounting financial pressure from debts, including a $100 million mortgage on Trump Tower in New York that will come due in 2022.

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