Trump lashes out at report that he paid little or no federal income tax for 12 years

US President Donald Trump has lashed out at a New York Times report that revealed he paid almost nothing in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017, insisting that he paid "many millions of dollars" in taxes.

"The Fake News Media, just like Election time 2016, is bringing up my Taxes & all sorts of other nonsense with illegally obtained information & only bad intent," he wrote on Twitter on Monday local time (Tuesday AEST).

Trump said the story about his taxes was “fake news”.Credit:Bloomberg

His claim of having paid millions to the government did not specify federal income taxes, and he complained that he "was entitled, like everyone else, to depreciation and tax credits".

The Times report said that his federal income tax bill was zero or close to it for 12 out of 17 years because of huge losses in other businesses that Trump owns. The President used provisions in the tax law to offset his tax obligations with the losses.

The Monday tweets followed a Sunday evening news conference in which the President called the report "totally fake news" and claimed he was never contacted for it, despite the fact that it quotes a lawyer for the Trump Organisation.

The President appeared most annoyed on Monday by the suggestion that he is not as wealthy and successful as he claims to be.

"If you look at the extraordinary assets owned by me, which the Fake News hasn't, I am extremely under leveraged – I have very little debt compared to the value of assets," he insisted on Twitter.

He said he "might release" a financial statement that shows "all properties, assets and debts," but did not say when he might do that. "It is a very IMPRESSIVE Statement," he wrote.

In fact, as the Times article notes, Trump is heavily in debt, and much of what he owes to lenders will have to be paid back in just a few years.

"He is personally responsible for loans and other debts totaling $US421 million, with most of it coming due within four years," it says.

"Should he win re-election, his lenders could be placed in the unprecedented position of weighing whether to foreclose on a sitting president."

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