WASHINGTON (SBG) - Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's nearly $1 billion deduction on his 1995 federal income tax returns could have allowed him to lawfully avoid paying taxes for up to 18 years, according to documents obtained exclusively by The New York Times.
The relevant three-page portion of Trump's 1995 returns (see below), are "a small fraction of the voluminous tax returns" the candidate would have filed that year, The New York Times reported.
Trump's $916 million loss enabled him to "cancel out an equivalent amount of taxable income over an 18-year period," said tax experts hired by The New York Times.
The Times also highlights "the financial wreckage [Trump] 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."
The Times indicated the tax documents had been mailed to one of its reporters, Susanne Craig. The envelope's return address? Trump Tower.
Trump, who has faced widespread criticism for being the only major party presidential candidate in 40 years not to release his or her federal income tax returns, said during Monday night's presidential debate at Hofstra University that not paying taxes "makes me smart."
The candidate has repeatedly said his lawyers have advised him not to release his returns while they are under audit by the Internal Revenue Service. Last month IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told a House committee people under audit are free to release their tax returns, reported The Associated Press.
The Trump campaign on Saturday evening released a statement in response to The New York Times bombshell that neither confirmed nor denied the article's contents:
"The only news here is that the more than 20-year-old alleged tax document was illegally obtained, a further demonstration that the New York Times, like establishment media in general, is an extension of the Clinton Campaign, the Democratic Party and their global special interests. What is happening now with the FBI and DOJ on Hillary Clinton's emails and illegal server, including her many lies and her lies to Congress are worse than what took place in the administration of Richard Nixon - and far more illegal.
"Mr. 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. That being said, Mr. 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, along with very substantial charitable contributions. Mr. 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.
"The incredible skills Mr. Trump has shown in building his business are the skills we need to rebuild this country. Hillary Clinton is a corrupt public official who violated federal law, Donald Trump is an extraordinarily successful private businessman who followed the law and created tens of thousands of jobs for Americans."
Early Sunday morning Trump tweeted, "I know our complex tax laws better than anyone who has ever run for president and am the only one who can fix them. #failing@nytimes" and "I have created tens of thousands of jobs and will bring back great American prosperity. Hillary has only created jobs at the FBI and DOJ!"
Hillary Clinton retweeted a link to The Times article.
Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon said on Twitter, "Trump arrived late to his event tonight & gave a particularly unhinged set of remarks. Clearly he was sweating this looming NYT report"
Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook released a statement saying:
"There it is. This bombshell report 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. In one year, Donald Trump lost nearly a billion dollars. A billion. He stiffed small businesses, laid off workers, and walked away from hardworking communities. And how did it work out for him? He apparently got to avoid paying taxes for nearly two decades -- while tens of millions of working families paid theirs. He calls that 'smart.' Now that the gig is up, why doesn't he go ahead and release his returns to show us all how 'smart' he really is?"
The hashtag #LastTimeTrumpPaidTaxes quickly shot to the top of the Twitter trending charts Saturday night.