After a bombshell New York Times investigative report on Tuesday revealed that as a businessman between 1985 and 1994, Donald Trump reported massive business losses totaling almost $1.2 billion, Trump took to Twitter on Wednesday morning to defend taking those write-offs on his tax returns. But in a pair of tweets, he may have admitted to committing tax fraud, experts say.
In one Twitter post, Trump described taking the “massive write offs and depreciation” in order to get out of paying taxes as “sport.”
“You always wanted to show losses for tax purposes….almost all real estate developers did – and often re-negotiate with banks, it was sport,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
But Trump’s business losses were not routine deduction amounts, as The Inquisitr reported. During that 10-year period, Trump “lost more money than nearly any other individual American taxpayer,” according to the Times report. In fact, in the years 1990 and 1991, Trump’s staggering losses were “more than double” those claimed by taxpayers who came in just behind Trump in the loss department.
In the year 1991 alone, Trump’s losses accounted for 1 percent of all business losses taken by all American taxpayers in that year, according to Times reporter Susanne Craig, writing on Twitter.
New Yorker magazine staff writer Ben Taub, on his own Twitter account, paraphrased Trump’s tweets.
“I committed massive tax fraud, for ‘sport.'”
University of Southern California Law School Professor Orin Kerr also took to Twitter to respond to Trump’s tweets asking, “Does he know tax fraud is illegal?”
Trump, also in his Twitter posts, referred to his practice of taking staggering business losses on his tax returns as a “tax shelter,” as Time reported.
Though the documents obtained by The New York Times covered only the 10-year period from 1985 to 1994, earlier reports by the same paper indicate that Trump’s practice of claiming colossal business losses continued after that time frame. During the 2016 presidential election campaign, The Times obtained a copy of Trump’s actual tax return from the following year, 1995.
According to that tax return, Trump’s businesses in tax year 1995 took their most incredible losses yet — $916 million. The loss was so massive that it likely allowed Trump to avoid paying any taxes at all for up to 18 years afterward, according to an NBC News account. According to Tuesday’s Times report, Trump did, in fact, pay no tax in eight of the 10 years between 1985 and 1994, due to his overwhelming business losses.
But in his Wednesday tweets, Trump appears to say that those losses were not real and claimed only to deceive the government into allowing him to pay little or none of the taxes he would have otherwise been required to pay.
According to Think Progress, though Trump appears in his Twitter posts to frankly confess his practice of taking massive losses, he also dismisses the New York Times report as a “Fake News hit job.”