There are plenty of theories floating around as to why Donald Trump is so adamantly opposed to releasing his returns. The Republican presidential nominee has said that his taxes are under audit and he will not be releasing them. But the mystery behind Trump’s refusal to release his income tax return is starting to unravel, and it’s disturbing.
Never before disclosed tax records obtained by The New York Times reveal that Donald J. Trump declared a $916 million loss on his 1995 income tax returns, a tax deduction so substantial that have allowed him to legally avoid paying any federal income taxes for almost two decades.
According to tax experts hired by The Times to analyze Donald Trump’s 1995 records, Mr. Trump used his $916 million loss to cancel out an equivalent amount of taxable income over an 18-year period.
The state documents show that Mr. Trump declined the opportunity to contribute to the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Fund, the New Jersey Wildlife Conservation Fund or the Children’s Trust Fund. He also declined to contribute $1 toward public financing of New Jersey’s elections for governor, according to the report.
The 1995 tax records show the extraordinary tax benefits that Mr. 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.
“He has a vast benefit from his destruction in the early 1990s,” Joel Rosenfeld, assistant professor at New York University’s Schack Institute of Real Estate, told The Times.
Jack Mitnick, a lawyer and certified public accountant who handled Mr. Trump’s tax matters for more than 30 years, until 1996, told the Times he found it difficult to face the incongruity of his work for Mr. Trump. He felt keenly aware of the fact that Mr. Trump was living a life of unimaginable luxury thanks in part to Mr. Mitnick’s ability to relieve him of the burden of paying taxes like everyone else.
When asked about the documents, Mr. Trump declined to comment. Instead, the campaign released a statement saying:
“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.”
H/T: The New York Times.