Twitter: @WhiteHouse

United States President Donald Trump paid only $750 in federal income taxes in 2016, the year he won the presidential election, The New York Times reported on Sunday. In his first year of presidency also, he paid only $750 as tax.

“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,” the newspaper said in an investigative article headlined “Long-concealed records show Trump’s chronic losses and years of tax avoidance”. The newspaper investigated the president’s tax return data for 18 years, and said that Trump did not pay taxes for 11 of those years.

The documents contained information that Trump had disclosed to the US government’s Internal Revenue Service and were not findings of any independent inquiry, the newspaper added. While these documents show that Trump owned millions of dollars in valuable assets, they do not show his true wealth or reveal “any previously unreported connections to Russia”.

Trump’s tax returns have been a talking point ahead of the upcoming presidential elections in November. They were also issues of contention during his 2016 election run as well as during his presidency. While US presidents do not have to release details of their personal finances according to the law, all presidents except for Trump have done so since Richard Nixon in the 1970s.

Trump has claimed in the past that the American public had no interest in his taxes and also that he could not disclose his tax returns as he was under audit by the Internal Revenue Service. His IRS commissioner, however, has refuted this argument.

The American president has claimed that he would steer the US economy successfully, citing his claims to be a successful businessman. But, the newspaper said: “The tax returns that Mr Trump has long fought to keep private tell a story fundamentally different from the one he has sold to the American public.” They show a businessman who takes in millions of dollars every year and yet “racks up chronic losses that he aggressively employs to avoid paying taxes”, it added. Noting the questionable measures that Trump has employed to reduce his taxes, the article said that his finances were under stress “beset by losses and hundreds of millions of dollars in debt coming due that he has personally guaranteed” ahead of the November 3 elections. He also faces a hit of more than $100 million if he lost “a decade-long audit battle with the Internal Revenue Service over the legitimacy of a $72.9 million tax refund that he claimed, and received, after declaring huge losses.

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