Dec 30, 2022 - Economy

Trump's main holding company racked up over $300M in losses

Photo illustration of President Trump isolated with a long shadow, looking defeated.

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Stefan Rousseau (AFP), Jabin Botsford (The Washington Post)/Getty Images

Newly released IRS documents revealed former President Donald Trump's sprawling empire was awash in a sea of red ink from 2015-2020.

  • Over six years, Trump's primary holding company, known as DJT Holdings LLC, accumulated in excess of $313 million in reported losses.

Why it matters: The documents were released by House Democrats on Friday, the culmination of a years-long effort waged by Trump to keep them concealed.

By the numbers: During the period covered by the tax returns, DJT Holdings was in the red by tens of millions each year.

  • 2015: -$34,146,723
  • 2016: -$64,497,128
  • 2017: -$57,865,495
  • 2018: -$53,474,978
  • 2019: -$43,637,068
  • 2020: -$59,945,432
  • In total, Trump's complex business and real estate interests had racked up a staggering cumulative loss of $313,566,824.

Yes but: During each of those years, DJT Holdings reported assets north of $600 million, which in theory would be sufficient to cover those paper losses. And the complicated U.S. tax code allows companies to carry losses for years on end — just one area that critics say is ripe for reform.

Still, based purely on profit and income — the basis on which all U.S. corporations are taxed — the documents make clear that DJT Holdings was not profitable during 2015-2020. It allowed the company to take full advantage of strategies that kept it from paying taxes during those years, something Trump himself addressed on Friday.

What he's saying: In a statement posted to Truth Social, the ex-president blasted the release of his returns as politically motivated.

  • The documents "once again show how proudly successful I have been and how I have been able to use depreciation and various other tax deductions" as a means to create jobs and "magnificent structures," he added.

The bottom line: As an outsider candidate, part of Trump's appeal hinged on perceptions about his private sector acumen, earned through decades operating in New York's rough-and-tumble world of real estate. Friday's disclosures call into question his carefully-cultivated image as a savvy business magnate.

More from Axios:

House committee releases Trump tax returns

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Read: Report says IRS failed to properly audit Trump during his presidency

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