Trump defends tax tactics after NYT probe says he racked up $1 billion in losses: ‘It was sport’

Real Estate

President Donald Trump

Joshua Roberts | Reuters

President Donald Trump on Wednesday fired back at The New York Times over the newspaper’s investigative report that said his tax figures from 1985 through 1994 showed staggering business losses of more than $1 billion.

“You always wanted to show losses for tax purposes….almost all real estate developers did – and often re-negotiate with banks, it was sport,” Trump said in a pair of early morning tweets. “Additionally, the very old information put out is a highly inaccurate Fake News hit job!”

The Times published the report Tuesday night. It said it obtained Trump’s tax information, including printouts from his official IRS tax transcripts, for 1985 through 1994. Trump’s book, “Trump: The Art of the Deal,” was published in 1987.

The newspaper said data culled from printouts of Trump’s IRS receipts showed he lost money every year during the 10-year period, for a cumulative $1.17 billion loss overall. The Times also said Trump didn’t pay income taxes during eight of those 10 years.

Trump apparently lost more money than any other individual taxpayer in the U.S., according to the Times’ analysis of data the IRS has compiled on people earning large incomes.

Trump, however, suggested that his “tax shelter” tactics were par for the course in the 1980s and 1990s, saying in his Wednesday morning tweets that real estate developers like him “were entitled to massive write offs and depreciation which would, if one was actively building, show losses and tax losses in almost all cases.”

He added: “Much was non monetary.”

Trump, who rose to national fame in the 1980s as a New York real estate magnate with a tabloid lifestyle, has refused to release his tax returns, citing an ongoing IRS audit. Every president since Richard Nixon has made their tax returns publicly available, and Democrats have used the issue to hammer and investigate Trump. Experts have said audits haven’t stopped presidents from releasing their returns.

On Monday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin declined to allow the IRS to release Trump’s tax information to Congress after the Ways and Means Committee in the Democrat-controlled House sought six years of the president’s returns.

Trump and his aides have repeatedly said that the American public does not care about the president’s tax returns since he won the 2016 election without having made them public. Polls have shown, however, that most voters do want Trump to divulge his tax records.

A previous Times investigation in October detailed Trump’s murky business dealings, “including instances of outright fraud.”

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