“If I decide to run for office I will produce my tax returns, absolutely, I would love to do that” – Donald Trump, May 2014.
But until now he never did- anything to hide, Mr. Trump?
- Now the New York Times published his until now secret income tax return report from 1995 : Donald Trump declared a $916 million loss, mainly from his Atlantic City mismanagement.
- Such a substantial loss would allow him to legally avoid paying federal income taxes for 18 years
- These 1995 tax records, previously undisclosed, have been leaked revealing the extraordinary tax benefits that Donald Trump was able to capitalize on due to the financial carnage he left in his wake through the early 1990s. His three Atlantic City casinos, his airline business and the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan were all failures and contributed to these losses.
Tax experts have noted that the tax rules would allow for Trump to use this $916m loss to cancel out an equivalent amount of taxable income over an 18-year period.
Income, for example the $45 million he was paid between 1995 and 2009 as chief executive of a publicly traded company that he created to assume ownership and manage the failing Atlantic City casinos, would have not been taxable. All the while ordinary investors witnessed their shares dive to 17 cents from $35.50 and many contractors went unpaid for work, and casino bondholders received pennies on the dollar.
Trump “apparently got to avoid paying taxes for nearly two decades—while tens of millions of working families paid theirs.” pic.twitter.com/g62jB9fKr5
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) October 2, 2016
Trump has remained silent on the specifics
Trump declined to comment on the documents. Instead, his campaign released a statement that neither disputed nor confirmed the $916 million loss.
“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. “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.”
The statement continued, “Mr. Trump knows the tax code far better than anyone who has ever run for President and he is the only one that knows how to fix it.”
I know our complex tax laws better than anyone who has ever run for president and am the only one who can fix them. #failing@nytimes
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 2, 2016
Under further scrutiny:
- The tax documents do not shed any light on Trump’s claimed net worth, either now, or back then.
- The $916m loss doesn’t suggest that Trump was either bankrupt or insolvent back in 1995, as cash flow from his other businesses would have been able to cover any debts
The documents do however provide new insight into the Presidential Candidate’s finances, which has been a subject of intense speculation given his repeated emphasis on his business record thrhoughtout the entirety of his campaign.
- While trump reported $7.4m in interest income in 1995, he made only $6,108 in wages, which suggests he took full advantage of generous tax loopholes.
Will this affect his polling?
The extent to which this might cause Trump problems in the polls could take more time to play out. There is evidence that the majority of voters believe it is important for candidates to release their tax records.
Trump’s appeal in ‘Rust Belt’ swing states has mostly been found in ordinary voters who feel they have been left behind by the uneven economic recovery and who begrudge the wealthy Wall Street types who are able to maneuver the complicated tax scheme to escape the burden that other middle-class voters have to endure.
But it isn’t impossible to think that many of Trump’s core voters harbor a deep suspicion of the federal government and would see his avoidance as ‘smart’, just as Donald himself claimed in the debate.
Tax experts have declared that Donald Trump has not broken the law in any way, but his tweets would show his supposed moral compass might not be aligned correctly:
HALF of Americans don’t pay income tax despite crippling govt debt…http://t.co/gDAUj0Kt
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 23, 2012
The hedge fund guys (gals) have to pay higher taxes ASAP. They are paying practically nothing. We must reduce taxes for the middle class!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 5, 2015
Mitt Romney,who totally blew an election that should have been won and whose tax returns made him look like a fool, is now playing tough guy
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 24, 2016
Facebook billionaire gives up his U.S. citizenship in order to save taxes. I guess 3.8 billion isn’t enough for (cont) http://t.co/xaPBfxlm
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 14, 2012
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 13, 2012