US Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump may have avoided federal income taxes for up to 18 years, according to a report.
The business mogul declared a $916 million loss on his 1995 income tax returns and the tax deduction was so substantial that could have allowed him to legally avoid paying taxes for years to cancel out the loss, records obtained by The New York Times show.
The records are indicative of the extraordinary tax benefits that Trump derived from the financial wreckage he left behind in the early 1990s due to his mismanagement of three Atlantic City casinos, his wretched foray into the airline business and his ill-timed purchase of the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan.
Tax experts hired by The Times said that the loss was large enough that -- according to tax rules especially advantageous to affluent filers – it would have made it possible for Trump to wipe out more than $50 million a year in taxable income over this period.
“He has a vast benefit from his destruction” in the early 1990s, said one of the experts, Joel Rosenfeld, an assistant professor at New York University’s Schack Institute of Real Estate.
In a statement, the Trump campaign said that the tax document was obtained illegally and that the paper was operating on behalf of the presidential campaign of Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
“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.”
In another anti-Trump move, The Times called on Latinos to vote for Clinton and help defeat the business mogul on November 8.
The call came in an editorial Saturday which drew on Trump’s pledge to build a wall on the border with Mexico to prevent migrants from coming to the US and his insults against Mexicans and other minorities throughout the campaign.
"In addition to defeating a bully, Latinos have plenty of reasons to enthusiastically support Mr. Trump's main rival," said the editorial, which was also published in Spanish.
Strong Latino turnout could help change how US political parties treat and perceive Hispanic voters in the future, the paper said.
"America's 56 million Latinos - one third of whom are under 18 - are helping to shape America's future in classrooms, workplaces and neighborhoods. It is only a matter of time before their mark on the nation's politics matches their contributions in other spheres," the editorial said.
A new poll showed that Clinton had reopened a comfortable lead over Trump, a likely consequence of the two candidates’ first debate on Monday.
According to the Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Friday, the former secretary of state was enjoying a 4 percentage-point lead over Trump with 42 percent support.