US President Donald Trump’s income tax returns reveal “deep financial distress”. Picture: Brendan Smialowski/AFP
US President Donald Trump’s income tax returns reveal “deep financial distress”. Picture: Brendan Smialowski/AFP

Donald Trump’s $1 billion nightmare

FOR years Donald Trump spruiked his business savvy to anyone who would listen - but in reality, he was in "deep financial distress" and secretly losing tens of millions of dollars.

That's according to an explosive new report by The New York Times, which revealed the US President lost a staggering $US1.17 billion over just one decade.

Reporters have pored over figures from Mr Trump's federal income tax returns from 1985 to 1994 and have discovered a "far bleaker picture of his deal-making abilities and financial condition" than he would have the public believe.

The data, which was pulled from Mr Trump's Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax transcripts, showed he lost $US46.1 million from his main businesses - including hotels and casinos - in 1985.

Those huge losses continued every year over the next decade, and according to the Times, Mr Trump "appears to have lost more money than nearly any other individual American taxpayer" during that period, including losses of $US500 million in 1990 and 1991 alone.

Donald Trump lost $US1 billion in just 10 years. Picture: Jewel Samad/AFP
Donald Trump lost $US1 billion in just 10 years. Picture: Jewel Samad/AFP

Because of those astronomical losses, Mr Trump was not required to pay income tax for eight out of 10 years.

The findings are significant because Mr Trump drew on his alleged financial and business credentials during his presidential campaign, with many citizens voting for him precisely for that reason.

During the campaign, Mr Trump relentlessly painted himself as a business genius able to overcome setbacks and bankruptcies - which he blamed on the recession of 1990 rather than his own failings - to rebuild his fortune and empire.

As journalists Russ Buettner and Susanne Craig argue in their lengthy piece, "Mr Trump built a business licensing his name, became a television celebrity and ran for the White House by branding himself a self-made billionaire" who made his fortune with a $US1 million loan from his father.

In 1987, he made his now-famous claim, "There is no one my age who has accomplished more", and in the same year, Trump: The Art of the Deal was also published, with the memoir-slash-business advice book helping to cement Mr Trump as a pop-culture figure.

But according to the Times, accessing information on Mr Trump's "complex and concealed finances" has been a significant challenge after he refused to publicly share his tax returns during his campaign, with only a few pages available to this day.

An Instagram photo of a young Donald Trump with his parents, Fred C. and Mary Anne Trump, at the New York Military Academy. Picture: Donald Trump/Instagram
An Instagram photo of a young Donald Trump with his parents, Fred C. and Mary Anne Trump, at the New York Military Academy. Picture: Donald Trump/Instagram

Meanwhile, the publication revealed last year that Mr Trump was paid a minimum of $US413 million from his father in 2018, with documents also revealing Mr Trump was earning the equivalent of $US200,000 from the age of three - a figure that soared to $US1 million annually once he graduated from college.

But during the presidential campaign, Mr Trump often claimed he built his empire from next to nothing.

"My father gave me a very small loan in 1975, and I built it into a company that's worth many, many billions of dollars," he said at the time.

The release of the Times' latest investigation comes as the Trump administration and the Democrats battle it out for the release of the President's tax records.

The House Ways and Means Committee has asked the IRS to release Mr Trump's personal and business returns from 2013 to 2018.

Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin has refused, arguing the request "lacks a legitimate legislative purpose".

Mr Mnuchin's move, which had been expected, is likely to set a legal battle into motion.

- with wires

Continue the conversation @carey_alexis | alexis.carey@news.com.au



Frightening phone call that triggered 4-hour lockdown at uni

premium_icon Frightening phone call that triggered 4-hour lockdown at uni

Lockdown started with threatening phone call to Casino police

REVEALED: Fastest-growing schools on the Northern Rivers

premium_icon REVEALED: Fastest-growing schools on the Northern Rivers

One school has seen a 97 per cent increase in enrolment numbers

Closure of Lismore street 'major disruption' for businesses

premium_icon Closure of Lismore street 'major disruption' for businesses

CBD's latest road works could take six weeks