Trump’s businesses lost more than $1.36b from 1985 to 1994: Report
US President dismisses report as 'fake news'
WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump's businesses lost more than US$1 billion (S$1.36 billion) from 1985 to 1994, according to the New York Times (NYT), which said it obtained printouts from Mr Trump's official Internal Revenue Service tax transcripts.
The newspaper said Mr Trump posted losses in excess of US$250 million in both 1990 and 1991, which appeared to be more than double any other individual US taxpayer in an annual IRS sampling of high-income earners.
Over the 10 years, Mr Trump's core businesses, including casinos, hotels and apartment buildings, lost US$1.17 billion, according to the Times.
Mr Trump yesterday dismissed the report as a "Fake News hit job".
He did not directly acknowledge the losses reported by The New York Times, but in a pair of tweets said real estate developers were entitled to "massive writeoffs and depreciation".
"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 said. "Additionally, the very old information put out is a highly inaccurate Fake News hit job!"
According to the Times, Mr Trump's apparent losses were greater than nearly any other individual American taxpayer, so much so that he managed to avoid paying income taxes for eight of the 10 years.
Mr Trump broke with a decades-old precedent by refusing to release his tax returns as a presidential candidate in 2016 or since being elected, saying he could not do so while his taxes were being audited.
On Monday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin refused a request by the Democratic chairman of the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee for Mr Trump's tax returns.
Democrats want his tax data as part of their investigations of possible conflicts of interest posed by his ownership of extensive business interests even as he serves as president.
The request "lacks a legitimate purpose", meaning the US Treasury is not authorised to release tax filings by Mr Trump and his businesses, Mr Mnuchin said in a letter to the committee's chairman.
Mr Mnuchin's refusal after a month of deliberation appeared certain to spark yet another legal clash between the embattled president and congressional Democrats who now control the House of Representatives.
Under a statute granting the committee access to tax filings, the committee last month had asked the US Internal Revenue Service for five years of tax returns filed by Mr Trump and eight of the corporate entities comprising his business empire.
But Mr Mnuchin repeatedly ignored deadlines set by the committee, calling the request "unprecedented" and warning that it raised constitutional questions and threatened taxpayer privacy.
He said Monday he had made his decision in consultation with the US Department of Justice. "I am informing you now that the Department may not lawfully fulfil the committee's request." - REUTERS, AFP
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