NYT: Tax papers suggest Trump had $1 billion in business losses over a decade

President TrumpDonald John TrumpHealth insurers Cigna, Humana waive out-of-pocket costs for coronavirus treatment Puerto Rico needs more federal help to combat COVID-19 Fauci says April 30 extension is 'a wise and prudent decision' MORE’s businesses lost nearly $1.2 billion between 1985 and 1994, according to The New York Times, citing IRS transcripts.

In 1990 and 1991 alone, according to the Times, Trump’s business losses exceeded $250 million each year, more than twice those of the nearest taxpayer in the IRS information for the two years.

The documents indicate he lost so much money during that decade that he avoided paying income tax for eight of the 10 years, according to the Times, although it was unclear whether the IRS asked him to make changes after audits.


The Times said that it received different responses from Trump's team over time. A senior official told the Times several weeks ago that Trump "got massive depreciation and tax shelter because of large-scale construction and subsidized developments." But more recently, a lawyer for Trump said that the tax data was "demonstrably false."

The Times's article comes amid a fight between House Democrats and the Trump administration over Democrats' request for Trump's personal and business tax returns from 2013 to 2018.

Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinTrump floats restoring full corporate tax deduction for meals as coronavirus derails restaurants Mnuchin emerges as key asset in Trump's war against coronavirus Sunday shows - New coronavirus projections, quarantine talk dominate MORE on Monday rejected the request from House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard NealRichard Edmund NealDemocrats eye additional relief checks for coronavirus Judge puts new hold on Democrats' lawsuit seeking Trump tax returns MA lawmakers press HHS secretary on status of state's protective equipment MORE (D-Mass.), saying it lacked a legitimate legislative purpose.

Neal told reporters Tuesday, shortly before the Times's article gained widespread attention, that he planned to make a decision about his next steps by the end of the week. He noted that the administration hasn't been responding to many subpoenas and that he thinks the matter is heading to the courts.

The Times did not receive copies of Trump's actual tax returns from 1985 to 1994 but obtained copies of Trump's tax transcripts from those years that contain figures from his federal tax forms. During the 2016 election, the Times was anonymously mailed a copy of Trump's 1995 state tax returns, showing losses of more than $900 million.


The two worst years for Trump in the 10-year period the Times examined were 1990 and 1991. The Times noted that the Trump Taj Mahal Hotel and Casino opened in 1990 and that the casino had a lot debt and did not produce enough revenue to cover the debt.

The only two years in the 10-year period when Trump paid income taxes were 1987 and 1988, and in both of those years Trump paid the alternative minimum tax — an alternative tax system aimed at preventing wealthy people from paying nothing in taxes. The tax law Trump signed in 2017 significantly reduced the number of people subject to the alternative minimum tax.

The Times also found that between 1986 and 1988, Trump made millions by purchasing shares of stock, suggesting he was going to take over the companies to drive up the price and then selling the shares. The Times said that it appears he eventually lost most or all of the gains he obtained this way.

The Times also reported last fall that Trump and his family had participated in "dubious" tax schemes during the 1990s in order to minimize the president's parents' estate and gift taxes.

The period from 1985 to 1994 for which the Times obtained tax information includes the year when Trump published his best-selling book "Trump: The Art of the Deal" as well as years when several Trump hotels declared bankruptcy.