At Monday’s debate, Hillary Clinton suggested that Donald Trump wouldn’t release his tax returns because he pays ‘zero’ taxes. Though his seemed unlikely at the time, the New York Times claims Clinton was right. In an unprecedented new report, the newspaper claims that Trump hasn’t paid taxes since 1995.
Apparently, Trump has been able to avoid because he made a huge loss in the mid 1990s. He reportedly lost $916m. This loss allowed allowed Trump to avoid paying income tax for the next 18 years. This means Trump didn’t have to pay $50m a year in tax.
If the report is true, it could spell trouble for Trump’s already struggling campaign. During the debate, Trump claimed that he was ‘smart’ to avoid taxes. But the tax he hasn’t pay amounts to around $900m, a substantial amount by anyone’s standards.
The obvious question voters will ask is why Trump was able to write off such a huge business loss and still continue to live such a luxurious lifestyle. Trump was able to recoup his business losses from the taxpayer and contribute nothing to Uncle Sam.
Trump’s loss of nearly a billion dollars also contradicts his image as a brilliant businessman. In fact, he’s spent the last 18 years recovering from a business failure. These revelations will increase pressure on Trump to release his tax returns but if the allegations are true, the Trump campaign will not be eager to confirm them with paperwork.
Many commentators believed this election was already so bizarre that it wouldn’t have an ‘October Surprise’ – an unexpected event in the month before the election that could change the outcome. But it looks like Trump’s taxes have filled that role.