Thursday, December 7

Donald Trump may have avoided income taxes for 18 years



Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump declared a $US916 million loss on his 1995 income tax returns, and the large tax deduction may have allowed him to avoid paying federal income taxes for up to 18 years, according to a US media report.

The Trump campaign, in a statement responding to The New York Times report, said the tax document was obtained illegally and that the Times was operating as an extension of the presidential campaign of Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

The Times said it had obtained Mr Trump’s 1995 tax records and that they showed he received the large tax benefits from financial deals that went bad in the early 1990s.

The newspaper said tax experts it hired to analyse Mr Trump’s records said tax rules, which are especially advantageous to wealthy filers, would have let Mr Trump use his $US916 million loss to cancel out an equivalent amount of taxable income over an 18-year period.

The report said although Mr Trump’s taxable income in subsequent years was as yet unknown, a $US916 million loss in 1995 would have been large enough to wipe out more than $US50 million a year in taxable income over 18 years.

Mr Trump has declined to release his tax records, unlike previous presidential nominees in modern history, and has said his taxes were under a federal audit.

Experts have said he could still release them publicly if he wished.

“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 Trump campaign statement read.

“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.”