Last Time Trump Made His Taxes Public, He Had Paid $0

Washington Post: He reported negative income in late 1970s
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 20, 2016 12:11 PM CDT

(Newser) – Donald Trump has little interest in making his tax returns public, but the Washington Post reports that he once had to do so back in 1981 because he was applying for a casino license. The bottom line? He paid $0 in federal taxes because he claimed a combined income from 1978 and 1979 of a negative $3.8 million. Not that he was a pauper: In fact, as the report notes, Trump had previously boasted to the New York Times of being worth around $200 million at the time. He managed to avoid a federal bill by taking advantage of a tax provision used by developers to claim negative income.

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Might the same still be true today? "Tax analysts say it is possible that Trump pays very low income taxes, or no taxes at all, using tactics available to wealthy investors and developers, such as depreciating the value of real estate," writes the Post's Drew Harwell. That could prove dicey for Trump to explain given his theme of standing up for the little guy against Wall Street fatcats who take advantage of tax loopholes to "get away with murder." Meanwhile, USA Today did a deep dive into Trump's businesses and found that they've "been involved in at least 100 lawsuits and other disputes related to unpaid taxes or how much tax his businesses owe." Click for that investigation here. (Read more Donald Trump 2016 stories.)

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