US President Donald Trump was reportedly caught in the controversy as he was allegedly not paying tax for almost 10 years.
Donald Trump paid no federal income taxes whatsoever in 10 out of 15 years beginning in 2000 because he reported losing significantly more than he made, according to an explosive report released by the New York Times on Sunday.
Detailing payments gleaned from more than two decades of tax information, the Times report outlines extensive financial losses and years of tax avoidance that deal a blow to the business-tycoon brand Trump has built his political career on.
At a White House briefing on Sunday, Trump denied allegations in the New York Times story and claimed that he pays "a lot" in federal income taxes.
"I pay a lot, and I pay a lot in state income taxes," he said.
Trump added that he is willing to release his tax returns once he is no longer under audit by the Internal Revenue Service, which he said "treats me badly." The President, however, is under no obligation to hold his tax returns while under audit, despite his repeated claims otherwise, reports CNN.
According to the newspaper, Trump used the $427.4 million he was paid for "The Apprentice" to fund his other businesses, mostly his golf courses, and was putting more cash into his businesses than he was taking out.
The tax information obtained by the Times also reveals Trump has been fighting the IRS for years over whether losses he claimed should have resulted in a nearly $73 million refund.
In response to a letter summarising the newspaper's findings, Trump Organization lawyer Alan Garten told the Times that "most, if not all, of the facts appear to be inaccurate" and requested the documents.
The New York Times said it will not make Trump's tax-return data public so as not to jeopardise its sources "who have taken enormous personal risks to help inform the public."
The tax-return data obtained by the newspaper does not include his personal returns for 2018 or 2019.
Before becoming president, Trump was known as a celebrity businessman and property mogul, building an image of a hugely successful self-made billionaire which could be dented by the latest revelations, according to BBC.
The newspaper also claims that "most" of Trump's biggest businesses - such as his golf courses and hotels - "report losing millions, if not tens of millions, of dollars year after year".
"That equation is a key element of the alchemy of Trump's finances: using the proceeds of his celebrity to purchase and prop up risky businesses, then wielding their losses to avoid taxes," it says.
It adds that the president is personally responsible for more than $300 million in loans, which will come due in the next four years.
The newspaper also alleges that some of President Trump's businesses have received money from "lobbyists, foreign officials and others seeking face time, access or favour" from the president.
The Times says it used tax records to find out how much income the president makes from his companies overseas, alleging that he made $73 million in revenue from abroad in his first two years at the White House.
Much of that came from his golf courses in Ireland and Scotland, but the Times says the Trump Organization also received money "from licensing deals in countries with authoritarian-leaning leaders or thorny geopolitics".
The Times alleges that the licensing deals netted $3 million from the Philippines, $2.3 million from India and $1 million from Turkey.
The newspaper claims that President Trump made $427.4 million in total until 2018 in revenues from The Apprentice US series, as well as from branding deals where organisations paid to use his name. He also made $176.5 million in profit by investing in two office buildings, it is alleged.