We may never know.
Donald Trump says he’s paid way more in taxes than zero.
During Sunday night’s presidential debate in St. Louis, the Republican candidate said he has paid hundreds of millions in taxes in the past. Trump’s claim is a retort to a recent New York Times story that said he may have avoided paying taxes for nearly the past 20 years.
Nonetheless, when moderator Anderson Cooper asked Trump if he used a $916 million loss in 1995 to avoid paying federal income taxes, the candidate replied, “of course” he did.
But Trump said that he is far from the only rich person who has taken advantage of tax breaks. “Warren Buffett took a massive deduction. Soros, who’s a friend of hers, took a massive deduction. Many of the people that are giving her all this money that she can do many more commercials than me gave her took massive deductions,” said Trump.
Back in 2010, legendary investor Buffett, who is supporting Clinton, did say he got a large tax deduction for charitable donations. Trump’s tax deduction though appears to come from large losses on debt he was not able to repay, not actually money he has lost or donated to non-profits. Trump hasn’t donated to his own foundation since at least 2008.
Trump said he would like to close the carried interest tax loophole, which Soros may have used to lower his taxes. Buffett, who does not run a hedge fund, would not have been able to benefit from the loophole that lets hedge fund managers and private equity executives pay lower tax rates on their income. In the past, Buffett has said he pays a 17% tax rate, but that is likely because of lower long-term gains taxes, not necessarily deductions.
Trump has yet to release his tax returns, bucking a decades-old presidential tradition and prompting suggestions that he could be “hiding something.” He has repeatedly said he will release them after the IRS completes a “routine audit,” but the audit does not prevent him from releasing the returns. Clinton and her running mate, Tim Kaine, both released their tax returns in early August and have hit Trump over his failure to do the same. The New York Times recently published part of a Trump tax return from the 1990s that showed him declaring a loss of more than $900 million—a loss that he could have used to avoid paying federal income taxes for almost two decades. Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, released a decade of his tax filings earlier this month.
On his tax plan, Trump said he wants to close the carried interest loophole, and that he wants to lower taxes on corporations. He said that Clinton plans to raise taxes on all Americans, including the middle class.
Clinton said her tax plan would not raise taxes on anyone making $250,000 or less, and that Trump’s tax plan would raise taxes on the middle class.
For more on Trump’s Taxes:
- Trump’s Tax Records Show He May Have Understated His Salary by Millions to the IRS
- Trump’s Taxes May be Hiding this Bombshell
- Did Donald Trump Use His Foundation to Avoid Paying Taxes?
- 5 Things You Need to Know About Donald Trump’s Tax Returns
- Donald Trump Got a Tax Break For Stiffing Contractors
A recent assessment of Trump’s tax plan found that it would likely increase the national debt by $5.3 trillion over the next decade. The same analysis said Clinton’s plan would add just $200 billion to the debt over the same time.