President Trump has called a report on his tax returns a “highly inaccurate Fake News hit job” after the New York Times claimed he lost more than $1bn over a 10-year period.
The US publication says it has seen Mr Trump’s returns from 1985 to 1994 and that it reveals his business finances showed total losses of $1.17bn (£900m).
The newspaper said its reporting was based on printouts it acquired of his official Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax transcripts, including figures from his federal tax form.
In a series of tweets, the president put the reported huge losses down to real estate building in the 1980s and 1990s, saying developers were “entitled to massive write-offs” which would “show losses and tax losses in almost all cases”.
He also said: “You always wanted to show losses for tax purposes….almost all real estate developers did – and often re-negotiate with banks.”
Mr Trump added: “It was sport.”
….you would get it by building, or even buying. You always wanted to show losses for tax purposes….almost all real estate developers did – and often re-negotiate with banks, it was sport. Additionally, the very old information put out is a highly inaccurate Fake News hit job!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 8, 2019
Despite appearing to defend the reported losses, he ended his tweets by saying: “The very old information put out is a highly inaccurate Fake News hit job!”
The New York Times says that Mr Trump seems to have lost more money than “nearly any other individual American taxpayer” when compared to other high earners.
The paper also says that because of his losses, Mr Trump did not pay income tax for eight of the 10 years it had data for.
This week the House Ways and Means Committee asked the IRS for the president’s tax returns for 2013 to 2018, but Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin declined, saying the request “lacks a legitimate legislative purpose.”
It is now expected there will be a legal battle to subpoena the IRS to produce the returns.
Mr Trump is the first president since President Nixon in the 1970s to not release his tax returns.
Before becoming president, Mr Trump was known as a business tycoon who built properties all over the world including hotels and golf courses and when running for president, he boasted of his ability to make money and branded himself a “self-made billionaire”.
He also wrote a book in 1987 called The Art of the Deal, which he explains to the reader how he made his billions and was the host of The Apprentice – a TV show where people battle for investment from Mr Trump through a series of business challenges.
Source: SKY NEWS