Donald Trump‘s tax returns have finally been published. Not by him, of course. Tax returns spanning more than two decades were leaked to the New York Times, and guess what: this charlatan paid just US $750 (AU $1,065) in tax returns in the year he won the US presidency.
In fact, he paid almost no income tax for the better part of two decades. The long-awaited tax returns paint a picture of someone who was better at pretending to be a successful businessman than actually making money, the New York Times said. In short: he paid zero tax for 10 of the 15 years prior to 2016 because he reported losing much, much more money than he made.
The records paint a picture of someone running out of cash, running out of revenue streams, and running out of time: in the next four years, loans of more than US $300 million (AU $426 million), which he is personally responsible for, will be due.
“Now, with his financial challenges mounting, the records show that he depends more and more on making money from businesses that put him in potential and often direct conflict of interest with his job as president,” the report said.
As the report points out, even the tax rates for the wealthy one percent should have seen him pay more than $100 million in taxes, with earnings of more than US $600 million (AU $852 million) to 2018. Instead, he used huge losses from other businesses to avoid tax, making use of a workaround that allows business owners to carry forward losses to reduce taxes in future years.
“Most of Mr Trump’s core enterprises – from his constellation of golf courses to his conservative-magnet hotel in Washington – report losing millions, if not tens of millions of dollars year after year,” the report said.
“His revenue from The Apprentice and from licensing deals is drying up, and several years ago he sold nearly all the stocks that now might have helped him plug holes in his struggling properties.
But can we just sit in the fact that Donald Trump, multi-millionaire, paid just SEVEN HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS IN TAX in the same year he won the presidency?
My face when I read $750 pic.twitter.com/USa11qkY5z— Eugene Lee Yang (@EugeneLeeYang) September 27, 2020
I prefer Presidents who don't use OUR taxpayer money to golf while they only pay the IRS $750 per year in taxes.— BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@mmpadellan) September 27, 2020
In 2017, a single worker without children who made $18,000 would have paid $760 in federal income tax.— Seth Hanlon (@SethHanlon) September 27, 2020
Donald Trump paid $750.
Before I saw the news someone texted me “750 is wild,” and I definitely assumed it was $750K NOT SEVEN HUNDRED FIFTY DOLLARS OH MY GOD.— Meena Harris (@meenaharris) September 27, 2020
To illustrate how absurd $750 is:— Natasha Sarin (@NatashaRSarin) September 27, 2020
Poorest 20% of Americans
(People who make less than $25K/year)
Paid more in federal taxes in 2016 and 2017 than President Trump https://t.co/CfXYbp7nDj
Shock of shocks! Donald Trump, the self-proclaimed billionaire, received a $72.9 million tax refund from the IRS while not paying a nickel in federal income taxes in 10 out of 15 years.— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) September 27, 2020
Yep. Trump l-o-v-e-s corporate socialism for himself, rugged capitalism for everyone else.
“His revenue from “The Apprentice” and licensing deals is drying up; he has sold nearly all the stocks that now might have helped him plug holes in struggling properties.— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) September 27, 2020
“And within the next 4 years, more than $300M in loans — for which he is personally responsible — come due.”
So why does it matter that Trump is a tax avoidant snake?
For starters, it gives insight as to why he launched his presidential bid in the first place, which nobody ever expected him to win: the NY Times suggests it could have been to revamp his fading profile, spinning it into more lucrative branding deals.
Secondly, it undermines a huge part of his campaign. In 2015, he repeatedly said he was uniquely qualified to be president because he was “really rich” and had “built a great company”. And yet, despite every presidential candidate since Richard Nixon releasing their tax returns, and Trump saying he would “love” to do so, he has used every power available to him to avoid doing it.
But mostly, it paints a concerning picture of someone who is in deep shit, financially speaking, and has repeatedly expressed an ambivalence to democracy. He publicly admires dictators and attacks the press. He refuses to commit to a peaceful transfer of power should he lose the upcoming presidential election. And he was literally impeached on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Remember that? He was impeached, and it feels like we all just forgot.
Trump has already dismissed the bombshell report as “fake news”, but did not give specifics. He claimed the American public would see his returns after a decade-long audit by the IRS was complete, despite the IRS commissioner refuting their audit was preventing the records being made public.
The NYT promises several more reports in the coming days and weeks, so buckle up. This could be a messy one.
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