Tax records show Trump losses of $1bn over a decade
President Donald Trump, who won the presidency in part on his image as a successful business mogul, lost $1.17bn over 10 years on failed business deals, according to tax records obtained by the 'New York Times'.
The losses, in the 1980s and 1990s, were greater than those reported by nearly any other American taxpayer during that period, according to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) data the 'Times' said it had reviewed.
In 1990 and 1991, according to the report, Mr Trump's loses of $250m a year were more than double those of the nearest taxpayer the IRS collected information on.
After comparing Mr Trump's information with that of other "high-income earners", the 'Times' concluded that Mr Trump "appears to have lost more money than nearly any other individual American taxpayer". Because of his business losses, the newspaper reported, Mr Trump did not pay income taxes for eight of the 10 years.
The House Ways and Means Committee has asked the IRS to provide Mr Trump's personal and business returns for 2013 through 2018. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Monday refused to do so, saying the panel's request "lacks a legitimate legislative purpose."
Mr Trump claimed the report was "highly inaccurate". He tweeted that real estate developers during that period were "entitled to massive write-offs and depreciation" that would "show losses and tax losses in almost all cases". He tweeted that much of those losses were "non-monetary".
Mr Trump said, "You always wanted to show losses for tax purposes" and "renegotiate with banks". Mr Trump called that "sport". He said the 'Times' story was based on "very old information" and a "highly inaccurate Fake News hit job!"
Democrats in Congress have been battling for the release of the president's more recent returns, a clash that may likely end in court. Mr Trump sold himself to voters as a master deal-maker, who could bring the same success to the country as he did to his businesses. While he never personally filed for bankruptcy, his businesses sought bankruptcy protection four times.
The 'Times' said it did not obtain the actual tax returns, but instead received Mr Trump's IRS tax transcripts that included figures from his federal 1040 tax form from someone who had legal access to it. The 'Times' said it was able to verify some of the figures by cross-referencing them to other documents it had obtained.
The losses cover Mr Trump's taxes from 1985 to 1994. The losses began with $46.1m in 1985 from casinos, hotels and retail space, and grew year after year, the 'Times' reported.
The returns also show how Mr Trump's primary sources of income changed each year from stock market earnings - in part from boosting stock prices by suggesting he would take over a company - to an unexplained $52.9m gain in interest income.
Yet the income was offset each year by losses, which were so great that Mr Trump would have been able to avoid paying income taxes for eight of the 10 years.
In a statement to the 'Times', Charles Harder, a lawyer for Mr Trump, said that the tax information was "demonstrably false" and that the paper's statements "about the president's tax returns and business from 30 years ago are highly inaccurate".
In an additional statement to the 'Times', he said "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," the paper reported.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment. On Monday, Mr Mnuchin refused to release Mr Trump's personal and business tax returns from the past six years, setting up what could become one of the biggest legal showdowns between the president and a Congress seeking to investigate him.
Democrats, citing a section of the tax code from 1924, say the law is on their side. The law allows the chairmen of the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees and the Joint Committee on Taxation to request the tax returns of any taxpayer and that the Treasury secretary "shall" provide them.
The 'Times' has previously reported on parts of Mr Trump's tax returns from his 1995 filings after receiving some of the pages in the mail. They showed that Mr Trump had reported a loss of $915.7m.
Mr Trump's financial troubles over the period examined by the 'Times' have been well documented with his companies having sought bankruptcy protection in 1991, 1992, 2004 and 2009. (© Bloomberg)