Donald Trump has hit back at reports that he lost more than $1bn dollars between 1985 and 1994, saying the fact he was a real estate developer gave him leeway with his taxes.
Responding to the publication of his long-sought after tax returns by the New York Times yesterday, the US President derided the report as a “highly inaccurate fake news hit job”.
The tax returns detailed how his core businesses of casinos, hotels and apartment buildings lost $1.17bn over the course of a decade, meaning he was exempt from paying income tax for eight of the 10 years.
But this afternoon, Trump said he was allowed the huge tax write-offs for depreciation and many “non monetary” factors, adding the report was based on “very old information”.
“You always wanted to show losses for tax purposes ... almost all real estate developers did - and often re-negotiate with banks, it was sport,” he tweeted.
....you would get it by building, or even buying. You always wanted to show losses for tax purposes....almost all real estate developers did - and often re-negotiate with banks, it was sport. Additionally, the very old information put out is a highly inaccurate Fake News hit job!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 8, 2019
Trump has repeatedly denied access to his tax returns during his presidency and on the campaign trail before this, claiming to be under audit by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Other US presidential candidates have traditionally released their tax returns during the campaign in the interests of transparency.
But hours after one of Trump’s closest White House allies, Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin, formally refused the Democrats’ request for the documents late on Monday, the cat was out of the bag, revealing the real estate magnate and reality TV star turned politician lost more money than any other individual US taxpayer year after year.
Trump’s heavy losses throughout the ten-year period from 1985 run contrary to his image as a self-made billionaire - a key part of the persona which won him the presidency years later.