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Trump tax records suggest no federal taxes for years, New York Times reports

Donald Trump's business losses in 1995 were so large that they could have allowed him to avoid paying federal income taxes for as many as 18 years, according to records obtained by the New York Times.

Trump campaign says newspaper published documents illegally

Trump initially said that he would make his tax returns public during the course of his campaign but later switched course, citing what he said were years of ongoing IRS audits. (Reuters)

Donald Trump's business losses in 1995 were so large that they could have allowed him to avoid paying federal income taxes for as many as 18 years, according to records obtained by the New York Times.

In a story published online late Saturday, the Times said it anonymously received the first pages of Trump's 1995 state income tax filings in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The filings show a net loss of $915,729,293 in federal taxable income for the year.

Trump's campaign released a statement on Saturday lashing out at the Times for publishing the records and accused the newspaper of working to benefit the Republican nominee's presidential rival, Democrat Hillary Clinton.

"Mr. Trump is a highly skilled businessman who has a fiduciary responsibility to his business, his family and his employees to pay no more tax than legally required," the statement said.

Republican presidential nominee hits back at Hillary Clinton's remarks over his refusal to release his tax returns 0:33

"That being said, Mr. Trump has paid hundreds of millions of dollars in property taxes, sales and excise taxes, real estate taxes, city taxes, state taxes, employee taxes and federal taxes, along with very substantial charitable contributions," it said.

Trump initially said that he would make his tax returns public during the course of his campaign but later switched course, citing what he said were years of ongoing IRS audits and the advice of his attorneys to keep them private as those audits proceed.

Tax experts say there's no prohibition on Trump releasing his returns.

Since 1976, every major party presidential nominee has released tax returns. Clinton has publicly released nearly 40 years' worth, and Trump's running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, has released 10 years of his tax returns.

'This is legit'

In its story, the Times said the three pages of documents were mailed last month to a Times reporter who had written about Trump's finances. A postmark indicated they had been sent from New York City and the return address claimed the envelope had been sent from Trump Tower, the newspaper said.

Donald Trump's business losses of $916M in 1995 could have allowed him to avoid paying federal taxes for 18 years, according to the New York Times, which said it had obtained authentic tax records. (Wayne Parry/Associated Press)

Trump's campaign did not directly address the authenticity of the excerpts from Trump's tax filings. Former Trump accountant Jack Mitnick, whose name appears as Trump's tax preparer of the filings, confirmed their authenticity, the newspaper reported.

"This is legit," Mitnick told the newspaper.

The Times said a lawyer for Trump argued that publication of the records would be illegal because Trump had not authorized their disclosure.

Because of provisions in the tax code that allow wealthy individuals to offset their personal income with losses in various partnerships and business ventures, Trump could have used his losses in 1995 to avoid incurring tax liabilities on as many as three years of prior and 15 years of future profits.

Earlier Saturday, at a campaign rally in Pennsylvania, Trump questioned Hillary Clinton's loyalty to her husband, former president Bill Clinton.

With files from Reuters

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