Trump's tax returns show detailed look at reported income losses

The New York Times examined 18 years of the president's tax returns and found he paid just $750 in federal income tax the year he won the White House.
6:45 | 09/28/20

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Transcript for Trump's tax returns show detailed look at reported income losses
We begin with the bombshell report about the president's taxes with just 36 days until the election. "The New York Times" saying president trump paid just $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017 and no federal income taxes at all in ten different years, George. It also details millions of dollars in financial losses. Raises new questions about the president's business skills and staggering debts that could come due in his second term. Cecilia Vega is at the white house with the latest. Good morning, Cecelia. Reporter: Good morning. President trump is the first president in modern history to refuse to release his tax returns. These documents obtained by "The New York Times" provide the most detailed look yet at his business empire. They paint a starkly different story than the one the president has been telling. This morning "The New York Times" reporting that president trump paid just $750 in federal income taxes the year he won the white house and the same amount his first year in office. On top of that the 18 years they examined he paid no federal income tax in 11 of them. The president denying it and repeating he can't release his taxes because he's still under audit. Even though the irs commissioner said an audit would not prevent him from doing that. The irs does not treat me well. They treat me very badly. They're under audit. Reporter: ABC news has not reviewed the two decades of documents ob taened by the times. The investigation paints a picture of a businessman whose empire is struggling despite repeated public claims like this. I'm really rich. Reporter: The times said the president reported more than $47 million in losses in 2018 alone and faces a personal debt of $421 million money that could come due while he's in office. According to the times most of the president's core businesses including his golf courses and hotel blocks from the white house report losing millions if not tens of millions year after year. The paper also accuses the president and his companies of claiming questionable deductions on some of those businesses including at mar-a-lago when the president was in office. $109,000 for linens and silverware and $200,000 for landscaping. He also wrote off more than $70,000 in hair cuts when he was on the apprentice. Even though the irs requires business deductions are ordinary and necessary. The president who vowed to pursue no new foreign deals when he took office earned more than $73 million from overseas business dealings including countries like the Philippines and Turkey. The paper says as the president was paying that $750 taxes at home his company paid more than $300,000 to countries overseas. The reason for the audit? It stems from the legitimacy from a nearly $300 million tax refund he received. What is your tax rate? None of your business. I fight hard to pay as little tax as possible. Reporter: He maintained paying fewer taxes makes him "The New York Times" said all the documents came from legal access. The Biden team has a new video out that breaks down what the average teacher firefighter and nurse pay in taxes. It's more than that $750 trump paid. $750 is about what someone who earns $20,000 a year would have paid. That's something. Cecelia, we learned news about the president's former campaign manager Brad parscale. Reporter: He was taken into custody after his wife called police and said he was inside their hole and had access to weapons and was threatening to harm himself. He was taken to the hospital. Parscale was replaced in July over questions about spending in the campaign. Let's bring in Dan Abrams. Dan, this information about the tax returns probably the most sought after information in the country. What an astonishing piece of journism. The United States congress and the district attorney in Manhattan has been trying to get access to documents that every other president has replaced. You have to wonder why did these sources decide to come forward now? Probably because they thought it was important enough to get the information out before the election. So this is critical information for a lot of people who have been wanting access to it. Let's talk about the legal implications. The president is facing two financial investigations right now. That's right. Both will want access and have wanted access to this information. The Manhattan district attorney specifically said that he is investigating possible tax fraud. That's one of the reasons that he wants access to these documents. The issues become this, did he use personal as business? Did he basically intertwine the two and say a personal expense was a business expense? That's not allowed. Did he overstate his losses in an effort to not pay taxes on his profits? Another critical tax issue that many Americans face questions about and then of course that huge $73 million check which may be a combination of the two. He's negotiating with the irs over $72 million and he's facing hundreds of millions of dollars in debt obligations that could come due in a second term which could pose a huge conflict. Can you imagine if the president of the United States owes you money? Do you go and collect it? I can tell you that there are law firms out there that refuse to take cases for fear that they might oppose the president. Now imagine that the president owes you cash. Lots of questions. The times says more stories are coming. Dan, thank you. Robin?

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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