Now We Know Why Trump Hid His Tax Returns; Scams, Incompetence & Mountains of Debt
The New York Times obtained copies of tax returns and related data for Donald Trump and his companies for two decades, including tax years 2016 and 2017. The records show that the President is deeply in debt, loses a lot of money on his signature businesses, and plays fast and loose with federal tax laws.
The headline on this story for many news outlets is that the President has paid very little in income taxes over the years, but the reason is more important: Trump suffered massive losses on the majority of his business investments, including his golf resorts and his reality show has been about the only thing keeping him solvent. And now, with his Apprentice royalties dwindling, Trump has hundreds of millions of dollars in loans about to come due and faces an IRS audit that could cost him up to another hundred million dollars. In other words, Trump Inc. is a basket case, and the President's desperation might just explain some of the questionable decisions he has made in realigning US foreign policy toward authoritarian regimes in the Philippines and Turkey.
CNN: "A stunning New York Times exposé of the President's tax returns Sunday revealed a pitifully inept businessman and a serial tax avoider crushed by massive debts that could expose him to conflicts of interest given his position as President and power to help undisclosed lenders." ... ... "His personal debts also underscore a long-time fear about his administration -- that he is managing US diplomacy in order to prioritize his own personal and financial goals rather than the wider national interests. Trump, for instance, derives millions of dollars in income from countries like Turkey and the Philippines that are led by autocrats whom he has praised but who infringe traditional US values like human rights. And while he has paid little federal tax to the Treasury, the President or his companies have paid more in taxes to foreign powers, including $145,400 to India and $156,824 to the Philippines in 2017."
NPR has a good summary of some of the other revelations including his $70,000 hair styling write-off.
NPR: Here are other key findings of the New York Times:
Some reductions in the president's tax liability came from unexplained consulting fees. The Times cites evidence that some of the fees may have been paid to his daughter, Ivanka Trump, though she was not an outside figure, given her role as a top official in the Trump Organization. If that were true, it could create further legal peril.
Trump's long-running IRS audit stems from a refund he claimed in 2010 totaling $72.9 million, which appears to be based on a questionable move by the president to claim he was walking away from his Atlantic City casino business.
More than $70,000 paid to style Trump's hair for his former reality show The Apprentice was written off on his taxes as a business expense. He's also written off costs related to residences and aircraft that many would consider personal expenses.
The president's businesses have brought in lots of money from overseas, detailed precisely for the first time in this report, according to the Times. In his first two years in the White House, Trump earned $73 million from overseas, mostly from his golf courses in the British Isles. He also earned millions from the Philippines, India and Turkey.
Trump and his companies paid taxes of $15,598 in Panama, $145,400 in India and $156,824 in the Philippines in 2017, one of the years the report says Trump paid just $750 in income taxes to the U.S. government.
Representative Bill Pascrel of NJ provided the Washington Post with the best quote so far about the revelations saying, “Trump’s titanic financial losses confirm that while he campaigned as a so-called brilliant financial wizard, Trump is a cheat, a fraud and perhaps the worst businessman in the world.”
By; Don Lam & Curated Content