Hillary Clinton’s campaign Saturday night seized on a New York Times report about a 1995 tax record filed by Donald Trump, in which the Times showed he declared a $916 million loss that could have allowed him to legally skip paying federal income taxes for years.
The revelations threatened to put the controversy over Trump’s refusal to follow recent precedent and release his tax returns at the center of the presidential campaign less than 40 days before the election, after a week in which the Republican nominee has struggled to bounce back from a debate in which most analysts and scientifically conducted polls scored Clinton as the winner.
His campaign vehemently pushed back on the Clinton campaign’s effort to turn the report into an “October surprise” moment, saying Trump has a “fiduciary responsibility” as a businessman to pay no more tax than legally required. It also charged that the report proved that the Times and the “establishment media” are merely an arm of the Clinton campaign.
The report contains the first detailed tax documents about Trump’s financial empire that have been publicly reported. It was immediately picked up by Clinton’s campaign, which has sought to make Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns a major issue of the campaign.
Calling it a “bombshell report,” the Clinton campaign said the Times’ article “reveals the colossal nature of Donald Trump’s past business failures and just how long he may have avoided paying any federal income taxes whatsoever.”
Trump "apparently got to avoid paying taxes for nearly two decades—while tens of millions of working families paid theirs." pic.twitter.com/g62jB9fKr5
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) October 2, 2016
The Times’ report shows Trump that year declared a $916 million loss and lists tax benefits he used after a turbulent financial period for him in the early 1990s. The paper, citing tax experts, said Trump could have used his loss to cancel out an equivalent amount of taxable income for nearly two decades.
The paper says it obtained the three pages of documents when they were mailed to a reporter last month. A postmark indicated the documents were mailed from New York City, and the return address claimed the envelope had been sent from Trump Tower.
The paper did not look at his federal return. It obtained one page of his New York State resident income tax return as well as the first page of New Jersey and Connecticut nonresident returns.