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$421m in loans, $70,000 on hairstylists: Five claims about Trump’s finances

Written by on 28/09/2020

Donald Trump has cultivated a reputation for being a shrewd, successful businessman over the years – but an in-depth article into the state of the president’s finances casts doubt on the image he portrays to the world.

Here are five things we learned from The New York Times report, which was published just a couple of days before Mr Trump is due to face Joe Biden in the first televised presidential debate.

Trump golf
Image: Mr Trump’s golf courses – including those in Scotland and Ireland – are losing money

Many of his best-known businesses are losing money

The Times says many of Mr Trump’s hotels, golf courses and resorts have been haemorrhaging money – despite him frequently pointing to these as evidence of his success.

On his golf courses, Mr Trump has claimed $315m (£246m) in losses since 2000, while his Trump International Hotel in Washington has lost $55m (£43m), the paper reported.

Trump Tower
Image: A $100m mortgage on Trump Tower will be due in 2022

The president is set to face financial pressure as debts become due

Mr Trump appears to be personally responsible for $421m (£329m) in loans, most of which will become due within four years, according to the Times.

More from Donald Trump

In 2012, he also took out a $100m (£78.3m) mortgage on Trump Tower in New York – and although his company has paid $15m in interest on the loan, the original amount is yet to be repaid. That is due in 2022.

“Should he win re-election, his lenders could be placed in the unprecedented position of weighing whether to foreclose on a sitting president,” the article warned.

Donald Trump paid only $750 in federal income tax the year he became president
Image: Trump has capitalised on cost incurred from his businesses to finance a luxurious lifestyle

Mr Trump spent $70,000 on his hair while filming The Apprentice

Among his extravagant purchases was $70,000 (£54,786) spent on styling his hair while filming the TV show that helped propel him to fame.

The Times reports the US president has used the cost incurred from his multiple businesses to finance his luxurious lifestyle.

His homes, planes and golf courses are part of the Trump family business and therefore Mr Trump classified them as business expenses.

The expenses have helped reduce the president’s tax liability because they can be written off as deductions.

Ivanka Trump may have been treated as a consultant
Image: Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka

Mr Trump may have reduced his taxable income by treating his daughter as a consultant

The president’s daughter, Ivanka, reported receiving payments from a consulting company she co-owned totalling $747,622 (£579,171).

This exactly matched consulting fees claimed as tax deductions by the Trump Organisation for hotel projects in Vancouver and Hawaii.

Ms Trump was an executive officer of the Trump companies that received profits from and paid the consulting fees for both projects, so it appears she was treated as a consultant on the same deals she helped manage.

Employers can deduct consulting fees as a business expense, but the arrangement must be an “ordinary and necessary” part of running the business.

Donald Trump reacts to a question during a news conference in the Briefing Room of the White House on September 27, 2020 in Washington, DC
‘Totally fake news’ – Trump on tax claims

Mr Trump paid $750 in taxes in 2016 and 2017

Donald Trump reportedly paid just $750 (£578) in income tax in the year he became president.

The article says the US president initially paid $95m (£74m) in taxes over the 18 years it studied, but he later claimed a $72.9m (£57.03m) federal tax refund.

He also allegedly pocketed $21.2m (£16.5m) in state and local refunds.

Thanks to the refund, Mr Trump paid an average of $1.4m (£1.09m) in federal taxes between 2000 and 2017, the Times reported.

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An average US taxpayer in the top 0.001% of earners would have paid about $25m (£19.5m) a year over the same timeframe.

The huge refund is the focus of an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) inspection of his finances which has already been widely reported – and if the taxman rules against Mr Trump, it could cost him more than $100m.

The president has often faced calls to release his tax returns, but claims he cannot reveal the information because an audit is taking place. The head of the IRS says this is not true.

In a statement given to the Times, Alan Garten, a lawyer for the Trump Organisation said “most, if not all, of the facts appear to be inaccurate” – adding: “Over the past decade, President Trump has paid tens of millions of dollars in personal taxes to the federal government, including paying millions in personal taxes since announcing his candidacy in 2015.”

The newspaper argued that “personal taxes” are not the same as “income taxes”.

 Sky News

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