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Trump's Tax Returns Are Out —With All the Sobering Details

The president appears to be facing a mountain of debt and huge losses
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 27, 2020 4:30 PM CDT

(Newser) – The most sought-after documents in America have finally surfaced: President Trump's tax returns. And what they reveal is sobering. Trump, a self-described master of the deal, appears to be taking in hundreds of millions of dollars a year while suffering huge losses that he uses to pay little or nothing in taxes, the New York Times reports. His properties are struggling, he's deeply in debt, and he's facing a battle with the IRS could cost him over $100 million. The 20-plus years of documents "reveal the hollowness, but also the wizardry, behind the self-made-billionaire image," says the Times. "Ultimately, Mr. Trump has been more successful playing a business mogul than being one in real life." Among the details:

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  • Trump paid no federal income taxes in 10 of the last 15 years, $750 the year he won the election, and $750 the year after that.
  • He's facing $421 million in loans and other debts for which he's personally responsible—most of which will come due over the next four years. If he wins in November, lenders will face the unenviable decision of whether to foreclose on a sitting president. But Trump can use that debt to declare future losses and avoid paying taxes.
  • Beginning in 2010, he successfully claimed an income tax refund of $72.9 million due to his vast losses. That refund is at the heart of an IRS audit fight that could force Trump to repay the refund with interest—possibly more than $100 million.
  • Most of Trump's key ventures, like his golf courses and Washington hotel, are losing millions of dollars annually. The properties are also magnets for foreign officials and lobbyists, which could represent a conflict of interest for a president who refused to divest himself from his enterprises while in office.
  • Trump's revenue from licensing deals and The Apprentice—over $420 million in all—is running out, and years ago he sold off stocks that might help him shore up his properties.
  • Alan Garten, a Trump Organization lawyer, tells the Times that "most, if not all, of the facts appear to be inaccurate" in its report. He says Trump "has paid tens of millions of dollars in personal taxes" over the past decade, but the Times suggests that Garten is confusing Trump's income taxes with other federal taxes, like Medicare and Social Security. Garten said Trump paid some taxes with credits, which the Times calls "misleading."
  • Trump called the Times report "fake news" on Sunday and said he has paid taxes, the AP reports. He didn't give details but said it "will all be revealed."
(Read more President Trump stories.)

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