Washington: Old tax returns of Republican nominee Donald Trump showed that he could have avoided paying federal income taxes for the last 18 years.
The New York Times obtained these records which were sent to them anonymously with a return address of Trump Tower and published them on Saturday night.
The records showed that Trump declared a $916 million loss on his 1995 income tax returns, a deduction so substantial it could have given him a legal pass to avoid paying any federal income taxes.
The 1995 tax records, never before disclosed, reveal 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.
Tax experts hired by The New York Times to analyse the 1995 records said that tax rules especially advantageous to wealthy filers would have allowed Trump to use his $916 million loss to cancel out an equivalent amount of taxable income over an 18-year period.
"He has a vast benefit from his destruction," said one of the experts, Joel Rosenfeld, an assistant professor at New York University's Schack Institute of Real Estate. Rosenfeld offered this description of what he would advise a client who came to him with a tax return like Trump's: "Do you realise you can create $916 million in income without paying a nickel in taxes?" Trump declined to comment on the documents.
Instead, the campaign released a statement that neither challenged nor confirmed the $916 million loss.
"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, 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."
"Trump knows the tax code far better than anyone who has ever run for President and he is the only one that knows how to fix it," it added.