Donald Trump didn't pay income tax in 10 of 15 years before becoming President - report

Donald Trump has responded to a New York Times article lifting the lid on his long-concealed financial history, labelling it "made-up" and "totally fake news".

The report cites tax return data that shows Trump avoided paying any income tax in 10 of the 15 years before his inauguration as US President, and that he paid just US$750 in federal income taxes in both 2016 and 2017.

It says he was able to avoid paying much income tax because he had lost much more money than he'd made.

In response to the article, Trump told reporters at the White House the New York Times just "wanted to create a story".

"It's fake news," he said. "It's totally fake news - made-up, fake. We went through the same stories, you could have asked me the same questions four years ago, I had to litigate this and had to talk about it. Totally fake news.

"Actually, I paid tax. And you'll see that as soon as my tax returns - it's under audit, they've been under audit for a long time, the IRS [Inland Revenue Service] does not treat me well, they treat me like the Tea Party.

"It'll all be revealed. It's going to come out, but after after the audit. They're doing their assessment, we've been negotiating for a long time... But right now when you’re under audit, you don’t do it."

The report also said Trump had fallen into hundreds of millions of dollars of debt, and that a legal battle with the IRS could cost him as much as $100 million if it's found he wasn't entitled to a $72.9 million tax refund he claimed.

"Ultimately, Mr Trump has been more successful playing a business mogul than being one in real life," the report reads.

"[The tax records] reveal the hollowness, but also the wizardry, behind the self-made-billionaire image - honed through his star turn on The Apprentice - that helped propel him to the White House and that still undergirds the loyalty of many in his base."

The New York Times says it will release further details of Trump's income taxes in articles over the coming weeks.