By Jon Dougherty
After The New York Times published a lengthy “investigative” report Tuesday claiming that POTUS Donald Trump lost more than $1 billion during the 1980s and 1990s, based on tax return information someone leaked to the paper, the president took to Twitter to refute it all as “fake news.”
Specifically, the Times reported, the president’s businesses lost almost $1.2 billion between 1985 and 1994, based on IRS transcripts:
The data — printouts from Mr. Trump’s official Internal Revenue Service tax transcripts, with the figures from his federal tax form, the 1040, for the years 1985 to 1994 — represents the fullest and most detailed look to date at the president’s taxes, information he has kept from public view. Though the information does not cover the tax years at the center of an escalating battle between the Trump administration and Congress, it traces the most tumultuous chapter in a long business career — an era of fevered acquisition and spectacular collapse.
The numbers show that in 1985, Mr. Trump reported losses of $46.1 million from his core businesses — largely casinos, hotels and retail space in apartment buildings. They continued to lose money every year, totaling $1.17 billion in losses for the decade.
In fact, year after year, Mr. Trump appears to have lost more money than nearly any other individual American taxpayer, The Times found when it compared his results with detailed information the I.R.S. compiles on an annual sampling of high-income earners. His core business losses in 1990 and 1991 — more than $250 million each year — were more than double those of the nearest taxpayers in the I.R.S. information for those years.
Overall, Mr. Trump lost so much money that he was able to avoid paying income taxes for eight of the 10 years. It is not known whether the I.R.S. later required changes after audits.
It’s a safe bet that none of the Times ‘crack journalists’ who worked on this story have a clue about business, business taxes, the tax code as it relates to profits/losses, and the plethora of ways multimillion-dollar empires can use existing tax law and tax code to avoid paying as much in taxes as possible.
This is nothing new — and neither is the ‘revelation’ that Trump lost money in the period of time mentioned by the Times.
In any event, the president took to Twitter to school the paper on business and taxes:
“Real estate developers in the 1980’s & 1990’s, more than 30 years ago, 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 said.
“Much was non monetary. Sometimes considered “tax shelter,” 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!”
….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
Fox News host and correspondent Geraldo Rivera even called the Left’s reaction to the NYTimes report “predictable and sad.”
The Times just spent an inordinate amount of money and, perhaps, opened itself up to a lawsuit to publish a story that will not affect the president’s supporters or job approval rating one iota.
- Follow Jon Dougherty on Twitter at @JonDougherty10