Donald Trump’s tax returns have long been the Holy Grail of those who, well, want to hold the president accountable to the law. For years a man so unpopular he was booed at a public wake has blocked any and all attempts to access them, hoping that his supporters won’t smell anything fishy about his finances. But almost four years shy of his 2016 presidential win and just over a month until Election Day 2020, The New York Times has gone and belatedly obtained those long-elusive returns. And guess what? It’s not pretty.
Let’s start with perhaps the most shocking revelation, which is that the president — a purported billionaire and self-described business genius — only paid $750 in federal income taxes in 2016, the year he won the presidency. Ditto the following year, his first full year at the job. In other words, there’s a chance that you paid more in federal income taxes than a man whose name still remains on a number of buildings in New York City (and around the country).
But at least that was more than he had paid previously. According to The NYT, “He had paid no income taxes at all in 10 of the previous 15 years — largely because he reported losing much more money than he made.”
What’s more, it appears Trump’s financial worries are about to come home to roost. As per The NYT:
As the president wages a re-election campaign that polls say he is in danger of losing, his finances are under stress, beset by losses and hundreds of millions of dollars in debt coming due that he has personally guaranteed. Also hanging over him is a decade-long audit battle with the Internal Revenue Service over the legitimacy of a $72.9 million tax refund that he claimed, and received, after declaring huge losses. An adverse ruling could cost him more than $100 million.
But wait, there’s more! It turns out that a lot of the Trump empire’s businesses aren’t exactly money-winners, forcing him to create a dense latticework of schemes to stay afloat. From The NYT:
The picture that perhaps emerges most starkly from the mountain of figures and tax schedules prepared by Mr. Trump’s accountants is of a businessman-president in a tightening financial vise.
Most of Mr. Trump’s core enterprises — from his constellation of golf courses to his conservative-magnet hotel in Washington — report losing millions, if not tens of millions, of dollars year after year.
His revenue from “The Apprentice” and from licensing deals is drying up, and several years ago he sold nearly all the stocks that now might have helped him plug holes in his struggling properties.The tax audit looms.
And within the next four years, more than $300 million in loans — obligations for which he is personally responsible — will come due.
Trump this week is scheduled to make his first appearance on the debate stage with his rival, former vice president Joe Biden. There’s something else Biden can use, on top of the stuff about escalating COVID-19 deaths, astronomical unemployment, kids in cages, palling around with dictators, yada yada. If things get really rough, Biden can always just say Trump’s a horrible businessman and wreckless spender who’s drowning in debt.
(Via The NYT)