Donald Trump’s tax returns, which were obtained by the New York Times, reveal that the Republican presidential candidate might not have paid income taxes for 18 years.
According to the Times, Trump, 70, declared a loss of $916 million on his 1995 income tax returns, which is significant because it means he could have avoided paying income taxes on the equivalent of more than $50 million a year — which would have included taxes on the $50,000 to $100,000 he was paid per episode of The Apprentice, according to the Times.
The Times explained that it obtained his New York, New Jersey and Connecticut state filings about a month ago, when an anonymous sender sent the documents by mail, with a return address of the Trump Tower. The publication does not hold a copy of his federal income tax returns.
Jack Mitnick, a lawyer and certified public accountant who handled Trump’s tax affairs until 1996 and was listed as the preparer on the New Jersey tax form, verified the legitimacy of the documents to the Times.
“This is legit,” he told the publication.
In response to the Times’ decision to make the tax documents public, the Trump campaign team released a statement that neither confirmed nor denied (nor explained) 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 reads. “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.”
Additionally, “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.”
The real estate mogul’s tax returns have become a central topic of debate in the presidential elections due to Trump’s unprecedented refusal to share them with the public.
During the Monday, September 26, presidential debate, Trump argued that he couldn’t release them because he was being audited by the IRS. The IRS has repeatedly stated that its audit on Trump has no bearing or hold on his ability to release his tax returns.
When Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton suggested during the debate that Trump release his tax returns so people can see "he's paid nothing in federal taxes," the self-proclaimed billionaire interrupted her to quip of his tax evasion, "That makes me smart."