Leaked Donald Trump federal income tax returns for the tax year 1995, obtained by the New York Times, show that the real estate mogul declared a loss of $916 million, losses that could have legally zeroed out having to pay any federal income taxes for up to 18 years, according to tax professionals hired by the liberal paper.
The tax documents, which The Times claims arrived in the mail postmarked from New York City with the return address of Trump Tower, were reported on Saturday evening October 1 and were mailed to the news organization last month.
The Trump campaign issued a response to the NYT report without specifically denying any of the details reported on or the authenticity of the tax returns.
“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.”
Marc E. Kasowitz, a Trump attorney, threatened legal action against the New York Times arguing that the release of the information is illegal because Trump had not authorized its release. Kasowitz threatened “prompt initiation of appropriate legal action.”
Donald Trump has failed to release current or past tax returns to the public, as every presidential nominee has done from and including Richard Nixon on forward. Trump claims to be under an IRS tax audit and uses it as an excuse for not releasing returns. However, nothing would legally keep the returns from being public and nothing would stop the billionaire from releasing the prior year’s returns that are not under audit.
When Hillary Clinton, at the first debate between the two, stated that perhaps the reason he hasn’t released the returns is because he hasn’t paid any taxes, Trump quickly interrupted, claiming, “That makes me smart.”
Neither the Times, nor their experts are claiming any illegalities performed by Trump or any of his companies. However, the report may be more of a damning indictment against the corrupt Internal Revenue tax code, which at over 70,000 pages long, is impossible for the average American to navigate. Nevertheless, the Clinton campaign and her surrogates will likely paint Trump as a “tax cheat,” which there is no evidence of.
However, The Times report does charge Trump with creating the tax losses through “financial wreckage he left behind in the early 1990s through mismanagement of three Atlantic City casinos, his ill-fated foray into the airline business and his ill-timed purchase of the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan.”
The fact that billionaires like Trump are offered special loopholes and deductions not available to the average Joe, and that Trump is able to hire teams of attorneys and accountants to take advantage of the corrupt tax structure in this country, is ever more reason that the IRS and the tax code should be ripped to shreds and replaced by either a flat tax or a flat consumption-based tax.
Or, the much better way to go would be for the federal government to return to its limited, constitutional boundaries and only be allowed to get its nose in where allowed by Article I, Section 8. If the government only performed those duties delegated to it by the states in the U.S. Constitution, there would be no need for a federal income tax and we would all be much more prosperous and happy.
It’s now officially October, so here come the “October Surprises.” Lord only knows what we’re about to behold until election day.