Trump defends "tax shelter" practice after report that his businesses lost millions

Donald Trump waves to reporters with his wife Ivana as they board their luxury yacht in New York City in 1988

President Donald Trump and First lady Melania Trump, left, smile during a one year anniversary event for her Be Best initiative in the Rose Garden of the White House, Tuesday, May 7, 2019, in Washington.

The Times did not obtain Trump's tax returns, but someone who had legal access to the returns gave the newspaper information about their contents.

"You always wanted to show losses for tax purposes", Trump said in a morning tweet, saying that "almost all real estate developers" used this as a "tax shelter".

Trump reported losses in core businesses including casinos, hotels and retail space in apartment buildings, the New York Times said on Tuesday, citing official Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax transcripts that were obtained.

Mr Trump broke with more than 40 years of tradition by refusing to release his tax returns before the 2016 election.

The newspaper on Tuesday said Trump, who was elected in 2016, posted losses in excess of $250m in both 1990 and 1991, which appeared to be more than double any other individual United States taxpayer, based on IRS data.

There was another noteworthy finding in Trump's taxes. "You always wanted to show losses for tax purposes....nearly all real estate developers did - and often re-negotiate with banks, it was sport", the president said. The Times then matched the information to figures in the public database of IRS information on top earners, where identifying details are removed.

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The Times reported that at certain times during the decade depicted in Trump's returns, "Mr. Trump appears to have lost more money than almost any other individual American taxpayer, ".

New reports of Mr rump's low tax bills are fueling House Democrats' anger at not being able to view his more recent tax returns.

While the report did not include information on the Trump tax returns requested by Democrats in Congress, it did add previously unknown context to the president's financial history using information about Trump's tax transcripts from the IRS.

Trump has labeled the report "a highly inaccurate fake news hit job".

Upon being elected, the president has broken with decades of precedent and has not released his tax filings.

Trump paid nothing in income taxes for eight of the 10 years, the documents show.

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