Donald Trump’s Tax Returns

The New York Times Obtained President Trump’s Tax Returns. What Happened?


The New York Times gained access to Donald Trump’s tax information yesterday. The documents revealed massive write-offs, ongoing debt issues, and struggling business ventures.

  • Trump’s tax returns have been in question since 2014 when he first considered running for office. He has never released the documents formally, but bits and pieces have been obtained by media outlets throughout his presidency. When Hillary Clinton alleged in a 2016 Presidential debate that Trump does not pay enough in federal income taxes, he replied, “that makes me smart.”
  • The President is in favor of providing tax relief to business owners and high-earning Americans. He was historically critical of former President Obama and the Democratic party for pushing for higher taxes on wealthy Americans.
  • The leaked tax records reveal that President Trump paid no income tax for 10 of the last 15 years, and paid only $750 in income tax in 2016 and 2017. The report attributes these low numbers to “chronic losses” in Trump’s business assets.
  • According to the Times, Trump avoided taxes by intentionally investing in risky business ventures and then “wielding their losses” as a tax write-off. It also alleged that Trump is embroiled in a years-long IRS audit which could cost him over $100 million.
  • Trump called the report “fake news” last night and replied that he “pays a lot” in taxes. A lawyer for the Trump administration, when asked about the report, said that “most, if not all, of the facts, appears to be inaccurate,” but was unable to substantiate this claim with data that contradicts the records obtained by the New York Times.


reporting from the left side of the aisle


  • Provides gratuitous coverage of the report, calling it a bombshell and his actions disgusting.
  • Argues that Trump tried to hide the tax returns because of the political implications of their release and that the release shows that Trump is a liar.
  • Highlights Trump’s business losses, implying that he is a poor businessman and raising questions about fraud.
  • Crucifies the president for his tax avoidance, pointing out that most Americans make less money and pay more in taxes than the President
  • Blasts the president for calling the report fake news, when his own lawyers were unable to dispute the facts of the reporting.



  • Points out that about half of Americans do not pay income taxes, although those Americans have extremely low incomes. Reporting also calls Trump a hypocrite for blasting other wealthy Americans for not paying taxes.
  • Highlights that the tax returns do not show any previously unknown financial ties to Moscow, as some politicians had feared.
  • Admits that the tax returns show decades of adept tax avoidance, but that such avoidance is totally legal.
  • Points out that the only reason why Trump did not release his taxes sooner is that he is under audit, and he has promised to release them once the audit is complete.
  • Highlights Trump’s claim that the report is fake news, giving him the benefit of the doubt. Some right-wing media sources are historically critical of the New York Times, alleging that it is biased.


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© Evelyn Torsher, 2020