The New York Times claims that US President Donald Trump has not paid federal income tax for ten years. There were, however, minor exceptions. For example, when Trump ran for president in 2016, he paid $ 750 in income tax. The same amount was paid in 2017 - in the first year of the politician's stay in the White House.
Speaking about these facts, the authors of the article refer to Trump's tax returns over the past 20 years, as well as to the data that the American leader provided to the US Federal Tax Service. Journalists claim that the relevant documents are in their possession, but they refuse to tell who exactly provided them.
Trump has already reacted to the article, and all the world media spread the information in the first few hours after publication.
We figure out what exactly the current owner of the White House was accused of and why the investigation could entail serious consequences.
70 000 dollars for a haircut and a number of other ways to avoid paying taxes
Official data that Trump has provided to the US Federal Internal Revenue Service for more than two decades suggests that the incumbent has real estate problems, huge write-offs and hundreds of millions of debt to be paid off.
According to the journalists, the politician indicated in the statements that he incurs losses in order to avoid paying taxes. "He did not pay income tax at all for 10 of the previous 15 years - mainly because he reported that he was losing much more money than he was making."
Most of Trump's major businesses - from his golf courses to his hotel in Washington - lose millions, if not tens of millions of dollars annually, the authors of the material claim.
For example, since 2000, Trump has suffered losses of $ 315.6 million on golf courses alone. The Trump National Doral Hotel has made him poorer by $ 162.3 million, and the Trump National Doral Miami Resort - by $ 125 million.
Trump's declarations as president of the country "present a distorted picture of his financial condition, as they simply reflect revenues, not profits."
"For example, in 2018, Trump announced that he earned at least $ 434.9 million. Tax reports reflect a completely different picture of his net profit: $ 47.4 million in losses," the journalists found out.
In addition, during his inauguration, Trump announced that he would not conduct any new foreign deals as president, but in his first two years at the White House, his foreign revenues were $ 73 million.
Most of this money came from his golf courses in Scotland, but some of it came from licensing deals "in countries with authoritarian leaders or complex geopolitics" - for example, $ 3 million was received from the Philippines, $ 2.3 million from India and $ 1 million from Turkey.
Trump's companies that operate overseas pay taxes there too. In 2017, his companies paid $ 156.8 thousand in taxes in the Philippines, $ 15.6 thousand in Panama, and $ 145 thousand in India.
Also, according to journalists, in 2018 from a share in the reality show "The Apprentice", as well as for the right to use his name, Trump received about 427 million dollars.
Another $ 176.5 million brought him a successful investment in two office buildings. Based on the investigation, Trump had to pay more than $ 100 million in taxes on these revenues alone.
The politician is said to have found several ways to reduce his tax burden. For example, he used tax deductions for personal expenses such as housing, an airplane, and $ 70,000 for hair styling while filming The Apprentice.
In addition, during the first two years of his presidency, Trump used tax breaks for businesses. The publication notes that loans for business investments in the amount of $ 9.7 million, which were provided after the politician asked for an extension of the deadline for filing a tax return, allowed him to reduce his income and pay just $ 750 in 2016 and 2017.
The American leader has had a strained relationship with The New York Times for several years.
Commenting on the investigation, Trump said at a press conference that the newspaper's statements were untrue and called them fabricated and invented.
He also assured that he would submit his tax declarations to refute the material, but did not specify exactly when this would happen.
By the way, the politician made a similar promise during the 2016 campaign. As of today, he has not completed it.
Since we are talking about the election race four years ago, we note that then the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton accused Trump of non-payment of federal income tax.
According to the Associated Press, Trump's reaction was laconic - he said that "it makes him smart."
The campaign headquarters of Trump's main rival in the 2020 elections, Joe Biden, has already released its own video based on the publication.
It claims that, according to data for 2019, an American teacher paid a tax of $ 7.2 thousand, a firefighter - $ 5.2 thousand, a nurse - $ 10.2 thousand, while Trump (undated) - $ 750
Trump Organization lawyer Alan Garten has denied The New York Times' allegations. The president has paid tens of millions of dollars in personal taxes to the federal government, he said.
Garten also asked the journalists for the documents on which the material is based, but they refused to provide them, explaining this by the defense of their sources.
What is the risk of an investigation?
In fact, Trump is accused of tax avoidance, which is a federal crime and is particularly serious in the United States.
"In the state of New York, it belongs to class E crimes, and given the fact that Trump, according to the newspaper, has not paid federal tax for more than one year, but several years, it could lead to a large fine and several years in prison - in the case if a court in New York finds a politician guilty," Novoye Vremya reports.
At the same time, the publication notes that the article itself will not lead to automatic initiation of a case, but it may lead to the intensification of the work of the Manhattan prosecutor's office, which has been investigating possible financial frauds of Trump's companies for several years.
And this, in turn, could lead to real prosecutions and tax evasion charges - especially if Trump loses the elections in the fall of 2020.