Donald Trump summarily and unapologetically refuses to release information about his taxes. He’s been called on repeatedly to release recent income tax returns, but to no avail. Trump has cited an ongoing audit as a reason why he refuses to release his taxes, but an unguarded statement from The Donald to George Stephanopoulos might be closer to the truth. As PoliticusUSA reports, Donald Trump was being interviewed by the pundit when he got irritated at the line of questioning and let a telling tidbit slip during an angry rant.
“It’s none of your business. You’ll see it when I release, but I fight very hard to pay as little tax as possible.”
If you read between the lines, it sounds like Donald Trump might be hiding his taxes from the American public because he knows he’s not paying his fair share. Despite the cult-like loyalty of The Donald’s voter base, he might bleed supporters if they realize that he’s exploiting loopholes when it comes to his taxes. He’s also breaking established presidential tradition. While there’s no law that requires presidential nominees from disclosing their taxes to the constituency, all but Donald Trump have done so in modern history.
While Donald Trump doesn’t come right out and admit that he’s skirting the system when it comes to his income taxes, a new report by the Washington Post reveals that when it comes to taxes, Donald Trump could have something serious to hide.
In fact, the last time Donald Trump made information about his income taxes available to the public, it was almost unbelievable. How so? According to a 1981 report by New Jersey gambling regulators, Donald Trump paid $0 in federal income taxes for two years in the late 1970s.
Let that sink in for a moment. This billionaire White House hopeful paid zero dollars in taxes while his voting base would have been paying roughly 30-40 percent.
The disclosure let it be known that Donald Trump took advantage of a tax-code provision that let him get away with reporting negative income. At the time the taxes were filed, Donald Trump was a Manhattan investor, and the tax-code provision he used to pick Uncle Sam’s pocket was very popular with developers.
Donald Trump has been singing a much different tune during this election cycle than the 1981 report revealed. As the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, the Donald has frequently made criticizing the use of tax loopholes and “false deductions” by the wealthy part of his campaign speeches and rally stumps. Trump has even accused CEOs and other wealthy executives with trying to “get away with murder” by way of avoiding paying their fair share in taxes.
“They make a fortune. They pay no tax. It’s ridiculous, okay?”
According to the 1981 report, “they” aren’t the only ones to make a fortune and pay nothing in taxes. Indeed, it’s beginning to look like a case of pot and kettle.
The release of the report illustrating the lengths that Donald Trump went to in order to avoid paying his share of taxes in the late 1970s could cause serious problems for Trump, and at the height of his unlikely presidential campaign. New to politics, the Republican frontrunner and presumptive nominee has built his new persona around a reputation as a “financial whiz,” often bragging that he pays as little in taxes as possible and that he admittedly works the tax code to get away with it.
That political identity is a sharp contrast to the reality faced by the majority of the people that make up Donald Trump’s pool of potential voters. Most of those folks, working-class Americans, tend to resent the higher rate they pay in taxes coupled with the fact that most loopholes exist only for the wealthiest of the wealthy.
At this point, Donald Trump voters are relying in good faith on The Donald’s word regarding his tax rate. Just this week Trump said he has paid “substantial” taxes while declining to provide proof or details. All of this while he remains the only (presumptive) presidential nominee in 40 years to refuse to release his taxes. In reality, neither Donald Trump’s supporters nor his critics know anything about how much he actually makes, how much he donates, and how much he might use and even abuse tax loopholes to reduce the amount he owes the government in taxes each year.
According to Donald Trump, he pays as little taxes as possible for a variety of reason, not the least of which being what the federal government does with tax dollars.
“One of the reasons is because the government takes your money and wastes it in the Middle East and all over the place.”
Despite Donald Trump’s current refusal to release his income taxes for public scrutiny, the former reality TV star was quick to criticize former Republican candidate Mitt Romney for not releasing his tax returns fast enough in 2012. When Romney did release his taxes, it was revealed that for the 2011 tax year, he’d opted out of certain deductions in order to pay a tax rate closer to the one shouldered by the average American.
Trump has been flip-flopping on the issue of his personal taxes for a while now. Early in his campaign he appeared ready to disclose his taxes, saying in January that he was going to let potential voters see his “very big…very beautiful” tax return. Last week, however, he backed far away from his earlier willingness to share his taxes. Rather, Donald Trump turned tables and said that voters are “not interested.”
What do you think? Is there something to be learned by checking out Trump’s tax return? Does it matter to you, as a potential voter, that Donald Trump paid absolutely nothing in taxes as a multimillionaire in the 1970s?
[Image Courtesy Of Mark Lyons/Getty Images]