Accounting experts were astonished by the revelations turned up in the New York Times' blockbuster report on President Donald Trump's tax returns.
The report showed the president was "abusing the tax system" by paying no income taxes in 10 of the 15 years before he entered the White House, and paid only $750 in his first two years in office, according to experts who spoke to The Guardian.
“This shows that Trump is either a very bad businessman or a tax cheat who is not respecting the tax system that he is asking everyone else to pay," said Alex Cobham, the chief executive of the Tax Justice Network. "Probably both are true.”
The tax returns showed Trump had plowed millions into unprofitable businesses, Cobham said, and make no legal or logical sense.
“The case for him being a bad businessman is absolutely proved," he said.
The president is engaged in a formal dispute with the IRS over his taxes, according to the report, which found Trump had sometimes used "questionable measures" to reduce his reported income.
“Trump is not a successful business person, at all," said Richard Murphy, a professor of accounting at Sheffield University management school. "Instead he is an arch-manipulator of borrowed funds, using them to give the appearance of a successful business career when he is, in fact, simply accumulating debt that he might well be unable to repay. The possibility that this might arise during the course of a second term in office is particularly worrying: How can the president go bankrupt?”
The tax returns show the president as an amoral wannabe, Murphy said.
"[He] wants to be rich, he wants to be famous," Murphy said. "He does not care how or why, and he is not willing to work for it."