How Did 'The New York Times' Wind up With President Trump's Tax Returns?

Donald Trump's tax records were a bombshell discovery from ‘The New York Times,’ but how did the paper get Trump's tax info in the first place?


Sep. 28 2020, Updated 1:25 p.m. ET

nytimes donald trump tax
Source: Getty Images

There's already been plenty written about the findings from The New York Times around Donald Trump's tax returns. The returns show, among other things, that he only paid $750 in 2016, and that he paid no income taxes at all in 10 of the last 15 years. Although the revelations have gotten plenty of coverage, there is less known about exactly how the New York Times got its hands on the information. 

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How did 'The New York Times' get Trump's tax info?

The paper has not revealed the source behind the tax info that it has published. In fact, the reporters behind the story have taken every step possible to protect their source's identity, including declining to publish the documents that the information is based on. Although they didn't publish the documents, they did assure their readers that their findings were based on Trump's actual tax history. 

Source: Instagram
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The story says that the records “comprise information that Mr. Trump has disclosed to the IRS, not the findings of an independent financial examination. They report that Mr. Trump owns hundreds of millions of dollars in valuable assets, but they do not reveal his true wealth. Nor do they reveal any previously unreported connections to Russia.” 

Although the New York Times declined to publish the documents to protect its source, there is no reason to question the veracity of the claims that they make in the story. In fact, the assertions made by the paper align with much of what President Trump has said both publicly and privately about his taxes, which he refuses to release to the public, unlike every president since 1976. 

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How has Donald Trump responded to 'The New York Times' story?

Trump, who is scheduled to debate Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden for the first time on Sept. 29, responded to the allegations in the New York Times story during a press conference.  

“Totally fake news, no. Actually I paid tax. And you’ll see that as soon as my tax returns – it’s under audit, they’ve been under audit for a long time," Trump told reporters. "The [Internal Revenue Service] does not treat me well … they treat me very badly." 

Source: Twitter
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The Times has promised that it will be publishing more stories based on Trump's tax returns in the coming weeks. The story also said that “the tax returns that Mr. Trump has long fought to keep private tell a story fundamentally different from the one he has sold to the American public.” The reporting suggests that Trump also has a number of loans coming due in the years ahead that could result in massive debt. 

In discussing the revelations in its reporting, the New York Times is also hinting at the possibility that Trump's image as a successful businessman could be undermined by his taxes, which show years of losses. Trump has refused to release his tax returns since he entered the race for president in 2015, claiming that he was under audit and that his taxes would be released once the audit was over. 

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