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Donald Trump is the subject of a whopping $72.9 million tax refund audit from the IRS in 2010. He is likened to Wizard of OZ, the man behind the curtain, full of smoke and mirrors. What you see may not always be what you get.
Trump shows the world that he is a wildly successful businessman, a billionaire, to be exact. He has his hands in a plethora of business ventures, such as real estate, television, and marketing deals.
However, the world now sees is that Trump is at the center of a multi-million IRS audit. He has allegedly reported significant business losses, according to tax returns obtained by the New York Times that spans 20 years. He reportedly only paid $750 in taxes in 2016 and 2017.
The report is released amid the first 2020 Presidential debate with Democratic opponent Joe Biden that will take place Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020.
The History Behind Tax Return Transparency
President Nixon kicked off the tradition of providing his taxes for public scrutiny after he was exposed for paying around $800 in taxes in 1970 and 1971. At the time, he was earning approximately $200,000 per year. Other presidents have since followed suit and released their taxes in good faith. He is the first U.S. President in over 40 years that has lacked transparency in releasing his taxes.
Trump has laboriously fought to keep his taxes out of the public eye since the onset of his 2016 presidential campaign. His argument to absolve him from releasing his returns — that he promised to release then later renigged — was elevated to the U.S. Supreme Court. The high courts ruled that no one is “above the law” and ordered he to relinquish his financial information to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.
The Man Behind the Curtains Exposed, Trump Paid Less in Taxes Than the Average American
The brand Trump exemplifies wealth, success, and a lavish lifestyle. His name is splattered on ostentatious skyscrapers in multiple cities.
He is the richest U.S. president to hold office. However, he has paid less in taxes than his predecessors. Moreover, based upon the New York Times report, he paid less in taxes than the average middle-income American.
Former Vice President Biden ran a television ad comparing the average paid in taxes by teachers, firefighters, and nurses is more than $5,000 to the mere $750 Trump paid in 2016 and 2017.
For much of the past 20 years, he has not paid federal income taxes, according to The Times. There has been no date provided for when the IRS audit surrounding Trump’s $72.9 million tax refund will be concluded.
Businesses Reported as Losses, Taking Advantage of Tax Deductions
Trump has reported deficits in his many prestigious businesses. His golf courses and hotel businesses have helped him lower his taxes because of the surmountable losses he reports.
In the past, he has described himself as “smart” for taking advantage of available tax deductions.
The former reality TV star reported a $70,000 tax deduction for his hairstyling alone. His daughter, Ivanka Trump, apparently received money as a consultant who provided more tax deductions for the President.
Foreign sources and U.S. special interest groups have contributed to the president more than originally known. He has roughly $400 million in personally guaranteed loans that will materialize in the next couple of years.
Deny, Deflect, Dismiss
In true Trump fashion, he immediately denied The New York Times report and dismissed it as fake news. He also used this approach to deny knowledge of payments made to adult film star, Stormy Daniels, to keep her quiet about an alleged affair. He later admitted to knowledge of a settlement paid to Daniels but denied any sexual encounter.
He has unempathetically commented, “it is what it is” regarding the millions of lives lost due to COVID-19. Tapes surfaced of the president confirming that he knew the magnitude of the virus but chose to downplay it to the American people to prevent panic. When asked in a town hall meeting why he chose to downplay the deadly virus, Trump said he, in fact, up played the coronavirus pandemic.
2020 Presidential Debate
His campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh speculated that the timing of The New York Times report was released to help former Vice President Biden win the highly anticipated presidential debate.
Non-Trump supporter Doug Heye, a GOP strategist and former spokesman for the Republican National Committee, believes with this new information, Biden can force Trump to admit he has either been lying to the IRS or the American people regarding his accumulated wealth.
There have been controversial tell-all books about the president in the past, and none have presented a “smoking gun.” The IRS audit regarding Trump’s $72.9 million tax refund has been ongoing for many years. He has been able to successfully elude reprimand when faced with evidence of misconduct or inappropriate quotes.
The American people will decide on Nov. 3, 2020, if purported billionaire Trump — paying a measly $750 in taxes — and being the subject of a $72.9 million tax refund audit, will continue to serve four more years as the President of the United States of America.
Opinion News by Sheree Bynum
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
CNN Politics: The *real* secret of Donald Trump’s success revealed by his tax returns; Chris Cillizza
The Washington Post: Report on Trump’s tax avoidance shakes up presidential race ahead of Tuesday night’s debate; Toluse Olorunnipa, Sean Sullivan
The New York Times: 18 Revelations From a Trove of Trump Tax Records; David Leonhardt
Kare: Why do presidents release their tax returns? How did it all get started?; Gordon Severson
Featured Image Courtesy of Investment Zen’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Gage Skidmore’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License