CHICAGO — A bombshell report in the New York Times examining nearly 20 years of President Donald Trump’s tax returns found he paid less in federal taxes than most middle class Americans.
The Times obtained and verified the “long concealed” returns from an undisclosed source for the report, which also sheds light on his business activities at properties including Trump Tower in Chicago, where profits reportedly fell 89 percent from 2015 to 2018.
It’s one of the properties causing serious financial pressure on the president, whose long-hidden federal tax returns were made public in the Times investigation examining nearly two decades worth of records.
The report details how losses at Trump hotels, golf resorts and other properties have led to severe financial pressure, and that $300 million worth of debt he personally guaranteed is coming due soon.
The president immediately criticized the report, calling it “a total fake,” but again refused to release his own returns. He is the only president since the 1970s who has not released his tax returns.
“When you’re under audit, you just don’t release them,” Trump said.
The exclusive reporting revealed Trump paid no federal income taxes in 11 out of the last 18 years, because he “regularly reported losing more than he made.” In 2017, his first year as president, he paid only $750 in federal income tax.
Trump has been locked in a battle with the IRS over a $72.9 million tax refund he claimed when his Atlantic City casino failed. The times reported that a ruling against the president could cost him more than $100 million.
In Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot — a former federal prosecutor — says the issue is a sense of fairness.
“The news suggests that this president has used every trick in the book to avoid paying his fair share; It doesn’t seem right, it doesn’t seem fair, and it explains a lot,” Lightfoot said. “It’s extraordinarily troubling to and obviously the IRS is all over this.”
She said it explains why the president wanted these returns kept secret. The
The Times also outlines potential conflicts of interest, showing he has received more money from foreign sources and interest groups than previously known, but the returns show no previously unknown connection to Russia.
The returns also shed light on the president’s lavish lifestyle, writing off homes, table linens, air travel and even $70,000 for hairstyling.
University of Illinois-Chicago political science professor Dick Simpson said the revelations could impact the election, especially by influencing those who haven’t made up their minds yet.
“The president looks like he’s cheating to the regular American worker, the regular American person who does pay their federal taxes; they feel like Trump, the president’s paying no taxes, and they’re paying a lot of taxes,” Simpson said.