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Trump's income tax return comes back to bite him

October 2, 2016

Donald Trump declared a $916 million loss on his 1995 income tax return, allowing him to legally avoid paying taxes since. The mogul has been loath to come clean with his tax affairs as the November 8 poll approaches.

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Image: Getty Images/AFP/W. McNamee

Trump's 1995 tax records - which had previously been undisclosed - show "the extraordinary tax benefits" that Trump "derived from the 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 New York Times reported late Saturday.

Trump's taxable income in the following years is unknown, but the $916 million loss in 1995 would have been large enough to wipe out more than $50 million a year in taxable income over 18 years, the report said.

The Trump campaign issued a statement that did not address 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," it added, giving no specifics.

The campaign team for Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, weighed in on the accusations. Campaign manager Robbie Mook said that "this bombshell report reveals the colossal nature of Donald Trump's past business failures and just how long he may have avoided paying any federal income taxes whatsoever."

Mook said that the New York Times report showed that the real estate mogul had lost nearly a billion dollars, "stiffed small businesses, laid off workers, and walked away from hardworking communities." 

The latest revelations should now compel Trump "to go ahead and release his returns," he said.

jbh/rc (AFP,  AP)