Questions have been raised about US President Donald Trump's fitness to govern. Photo: AFP/ Brendan Smialowski

US President Donald Trump paid just $750 in federal income taxes in 2016, the year he won the election, The New York Times reported Sunday, citing tax return data extending more than 20 years.

It added that he also paid only $750 in his first year in the White House, and he had paid no income taxes at all in 10 of the previous 15 years because he reported losing much more money than he made.

Trump immediately dismissed the report as “totally fake news.”

US presidents are not required by law to release details of their personal finances, but every one since Richard Nixon has done so.

Trump has broken with presidential tradition by refusing to release his returns, fighting a long battle in the courts and fueling speculation about what they might contain.

His tax returns, a key talking point in the 2016 election, have been a constant presence during his presidency and ahead of the November 3 election, when Trump is seeking a second term.

The New York Times said the tax data that it had seen “provides a road map of revelations, from write-offs for the cost of a criminal defense lawyer and a mansion used as a family retreat to a full accounting of the millions of dollars the president received from the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow.”

The records “reveal the hollowness, but also the wizardry, behind the self-made-billionaire image,” it added.

Alan Garten, a lawyer for the Trump Organization, told the paper in response that “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.”

The Times called that response misleading, saying the term “personal taxes” does not equate to his own income taxes but include Social Security taxes for himself and his employees, for example.

Here are some of the allegations made by the paper, which said it had viewed tax data dating back 20 years.

— Trump paid no federal income taxes in 11 of 18 years that the paper examined

— In 2017, after he became president in the 2016 election, his federal income tax bill was only $750

— He reduced his tax bill via a $72.9 million tax refund that is the subject of an Internal Revenue Service audit

— Many of his golf courses report losing large amounts of money

— Hundreds of millions of dollars in loans he personally guaranteed will soon be due for repayment

— He took tax deductions on residences, aircraft and $70,000 in hairstyling for television.

-AFP

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