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How much did Trump pay in taxes in the last 15 years?

According to a damning investigation by the New York Times, President Donald Trump's decision to fight to keep his tax returns under wraps is becoming ever clearer.

How much did Trump pay in taxes in the last 15 years?
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI AFP

President Donald Trump has relied on heavy losses across his business empire to help nearly erase his federal income tax bill, according to a report on Sunday from The New York Times.

Citing previously unseen tax-return data going back over 20 years, the Times shed new light on Trump's finances. Trump dismissed the story as "fake news" at a news conference on Sunday.

Trump's unseen tax-return revelations

In what now appears to be Donald Trump's only survival tactic, that statement was accompanied with a short tweet shouting 'FAKE NEWS'. This, despite the fact that he has fought all the way to the Supreme Court to keep his tax records secret - information that every president since Nixon has released voluntarily.

Here are some of the highlights from the NYT report, with more believed to be following in the coming days. There are 36 days until the election and the first debate against Democratic rival Joe Biden is almost upon us.

Small tax bill

In 2016 and 2017, Trump paid just $750 in federal income taxes, according to the Times. In 10 of the previous 15 years, Trump paid no federal income taxes at all. Despite reporting hundreds of millions of dollars in income, Trump effectively erased his tax bill by reporting heavy losses across his business interests.

High profile losses

Some of Trump's most prominent real estate holdings have also been less than profitable, the Times reported. Trump reported losing over $315 million on golf courses since 2000, with much of that centered at Trump National Doral near Miami. The hotel he opened in the heart of Washington in 2016 has recorded over $55 million in losses.

Rudy Giuliani, former New York City Mayor and personal attorney to US President Donald Trump, listens next to White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany as Trump speaks to reporters.

A big audit

The Times report also found that Trump has been feuding with the Internal Revenue Service for the last decade over a nearly $73 million tax refund he previously claimed. If the IRS were to prevail in its audit, which has seemingly stalled in recent years, Trump could be responsible for paying over $100 million to the government.

Brand image

The Times found that a large amount of Trump's profits came from selling Trump himself. It reported that the former reality television star reported making a combined $427.4 million from 2004 to 2018 by selling his name and image through various endorsements and licensing deals.

Aggressive write-offs

Trump has been aggressive in claiming certain business expenses that further shrank his tax bill, according to the Times. That includes $70,000 in hairstyling expenses tied to "The Apprentice," his former television program, and classifying a New York property described by the Trump Organization as a family retreat as an investment property to write off millions in property taxes.

Loans coming due

The Times reported that Trump appeared to be responsible for $421 million in loans coming due in the next four years.