Donald Trump’s three golf courses in Scotland and Ireland have reported combined losses of around £50m, according to reports.
He owns two in Scotland – Trump Turnberry in Ayrshire and Trump International at the Menie Estate in Aberdeenshire – and another in Doonbeg in the Republic of Ireland.
An explosive investigation by the New York Times into the US president’s long-concealed tax affairs revealed “chronic losses” of hundreds of millions of dollars at his businesses.
But he used US tax laws to offset his losses against his tax contribution, the newspaper claims.
The result was that Trump paid just $750 (£587) in federal income tax both in 2016, the year he won the presidency, and in 2017, his first year in office.
The report also said the 74-year-old had written off lavish expenditure as business costs deducted from his taxable income.
They included $109,433 (£84,867) for linens and silver and $197,829 (£153,419) for landscaping at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida – and more than $70,000 (£54,286) to hairstylists during Trump’s time on the US version of The Apprentice.
Trump dismissed the newspaper report as “fake news”.
He told a press conference: “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.
“The IRS (Internal Revenue Service) does not treat me well… they treat me very badly.”
Responding to the report, Alan Garten, the chief legal officer at the Trump Organisation, said: “Most, if not all, of the facts appear to be inaccurate.”
He added: “Over the past decade, President Trump has paid tens of millions of dollars in personal taxes to the federal government, including paying millions in personal taxes since announcing his candidacy in 2015.”
But the Times said it had been provided two decades’ of tax records from “sources with legal access” to them.
The paper went on to allege Trump had paid no US income tax at all in ten of the last 15 years.
It stated his main business, the Trump Organisation, is in fact more a “constellation” of hundreds of different enterprises, with the “core” being his golf courses and hotels.
However, all “report losing millions, if not tens of millions, of dollars year after year”, the paper said.
The report continued: “That equation is a key element of the alchemy of Mr. Trump’s finances: using the proceeds of his celebrity to purchase and prop up risky businesses, then wielding their losses to avoid taxes.”
It added: “Ultimately, Mr. Trump has been more successful playing a business mogul than being one in real life.”
The combined losses of his two Scottish courses and one Irish course, comprising his business interests in Europe, stand at $63.6m (£49.5), the newspaper said.
In total, it calculates that since 2000, Trump’s golf courses around the world have lost him $315.6m (£244.8m).
And the president is personally responsible for more than $300m (£233m) in loans which will come due in the next four years, the Times claimed.
Trump handed control of his Scottish courses to sons Eric and Donald Jr shortly before becoming President in January 2017.
But the Times said the US president has not truly divested from his businesses, alleging that some of his companies have received money from “lobbyists, foreign officials and others seeking face time, access or favour” from him.
The revelations come on the eve of Trump’s first head-to-head debate against his Democratic challenger for the US presidency, Joe Biden.
Polls suggest Biden is on course to defeat Trump in November’s presidential election.
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