From 2016 and 2017, Donald Trump only paid USD750 in federal income taxes and paid nothing for years before that, according to a report from The New York Times.
The Times obtained tax-return data spanning almost two decades for the United States president and his companies. They indicated his small tax payments are a result of his business empire losing a lot of money.
“Trump’s tax returns suggest he has only ever been successful as a showman, not at running actual businesses,” Lily Batchelder, a tax law professor at New York University posted on Twitter.
It obviously draws a lot of attention to the public, especially the USD750 figure. It is a significantly smaller tax bill compared to what millions of Americans owe the federal government every year.
“People with modest means pay more than that and I think that’s really gonna get under people’s skin,” Seth Hanlon, a tax expert at the left-leaning Center for American Progress told Business Insider.
He said a single worker without children earning USD18,000 annually would have paid USD760 in income taxes in 2017, roughly the amount that Trump’s paying.
Batchelder shared a chart on Twitter showing average tax payments using adjusted gross incomes for households during the first year of Trump’s presidency. The IRS defines it as including wages, capital gains, dividends, business income, and retirement distributions.
To give some perspective, here is how much households in each income group paid, on average, in 2017. Trump paid less than those earning under $5K, and less then every income group earning more than $20K. 3/x pic.twitter.com/0gJi7hpIVo
— Lily Batchelder (@lilybatch) September 28, 2020
The data, which was drawn by IRS shows that Trump’s tax payment is less compared to American households earning between USD20,000 and USD25,000 each year and is significantly less than households earning between USD25,000 to USD75,000.
Hanlon said that Trump’s small tax bills were representative of “a broken tax code and a person who steps over the line.”
“Business owners, especially in real estate, have lots of opportunities to avoid taxes that working people don’t have,” he said. “Trump seems to be taking full advantage of every deduction available to him legally and then some.”
Trump used a large number of expenses connected to his TV show, The Apprentice and which businesses can write off to reduce tax payments. One of them is an absurd amount of USD70,000 to style his hair.
As is usual with Trump, he defended his tax practices at a White House conference, saying “I’ve paid a lot, and I paid a lot in state income taxes too.”
Many members of the Democrat party criticised Trump for his tax evasion. Even Joe Biden’s presidential candidate turned the news into a 30-second ad comparing Trump’s tax payments to essential workers like teachers, firefighters and nurses – all who paid much more than the president.
— Grace Panetta (@grace_panetta) September 28, 2020