President Donald Trump claimed he was "entitled" to tax credit loopholes, and he has "very little debt" after The New York Times published an expose on his tax return information. The Times reported that Trump paid just $750 in federal income tax in 2016 and 2017 and that he filed for a $73.9 million tax refund that remains under audit by the IRS. Trump called the extensive and detailed reporting "fake news" and said he paid "many millions of dollars" in taxes.
"The Fake News Media, just like Election time 2016, is bringing up my Taxes & all sorts of other nonsense with illegally obtained information & only bad intent. I paid many millions of dollars in taxes but was entitled, like everyone else, to depreciation & tax credits," Trump began in a series of tweets Monday morning. The president claimed the "Fake News" did not look at his "extraordinary assets" and claims he is "extremely underleveraged." He said he has "very little debt compared to the value of assets."
Trump went on to claim that "much of this information is already on file" and he has promised to release financial statements "from the time I announced I was going to run for President, showing all properties, assets, and debts. It is a very IMPRESSIVE Statement, and also shows that I am the only President on record to give up my yearly $400,000 plus Presidential Salary!" In 2016, Trump became the first presidential nominee since 1976 not to release his tax returns information and repeatedly said he was "under audit," which he claimed meant he could not release the documents.
Trump's tweets appeared to be referring to an October 2016 Times report on Trump's taxes, reports Politico. In that report, the Times noted that Trump declared a $1 billion loss on his 1995 tax returns. Just days earlier, Trump said that not paying federal income taxes "makes me smart" during one of his debates with Hillary Clinton. In October 2018, the Times published another report on Trump's tax schemes and alleged fraud in the 1990s to boost the inheritance he received from his parents.
In Sunday's report, the Times found Trump paid no federal income taxes at all in 10 of the last 15 years because he declared losses greater than his earnings. The Times also reported Trump has loans and other debts climbing to $421 million, and most have to be paid within the next four years. Trump was asked about the report during Sunday's press conference, and he repeated his claim that he could not release the tax documents himself because he is under audit. However, former IRS officials have said this would not stop him from releasing the documents. "It's going to come out, but after the audit," Trump said Sunday, adding that the Times' report is "totally fake news."