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Breaking down Trump’s tax returns

News that Trump could have spent nearly two decades without paying income taxes — largely because he reported a loss of nearly $1 billion in the mid-1990s — threatens to puncture one of the core arguments of his campaign.
News that Trump could have spent nearly two decades without paying income taxes — largely because he reported a loss of nearly $1 billion in the mid-1990s — threatens to puncture one of the core arguments of his campaign.

The New York Times on Saturday night published three pages of tax documents it claims are from Donald Trump’s 1995 returns. The documents, although incomplete, offer a new window into the finances of Trump, the first major party candidate in decades who has not released his returns. Below are portions of the tax returns that were posted by the Times, with accompanying details about the filings.

1. Joint filings in three states

The three pages the Times published showed joint filings from Trump and his wife at the time, Marla Maples, in New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey.

According to the Times: “The documents were the first page of a New York state resident income tax return, the first page of a New Jersey nonresident tax return and the first page of a Connecticut nonresident tax return. Each page bore the names and Social Security numbers of Trump and Marla Maples, his wife at the time. Only the New Jersey form had what appeared to be their signatures.”

2. Wages, interest income, business income, and real estate holdings

In the New York state resident return, Trump filed for:

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-- $6,108 in wages, salaries, and tips

-- $7.4 million in taxable interest income

-- $3.4 million in business income or loss

-- A loss of $15.8 million on real estate holdings and partnerships

The Times reported on this portion: The documents show, for example, that while Trump reported $7.4 million in interest income in 1995, he made only $6,108 in wages, salaries and tips. They also suggest Trump took full advantage of generous tax loopholes specifically available to commercial real estate developers to claim a $15.8 million loss in 1995 on his real estate holdings and partnerships.

3. A $916 million loss

Perhaps most notable is a loss of $916 million for Trump’s federal adjusted gross income. The Times says this loss could have helped Trump avoid paying taxes for 18 years.

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The Times explained: Tax experts hired by The Times to analyze Trump’s 1995 records said tax rules that are especially advantageous to wealthy filers would have allowed Trump to use his $916 million loss to cancel out an equivalent amount of taxable income over an 18-year period. Although Trump’s taxable income in subsequent years is as yet unknown, a $916 million loss in 1995 would have been large enough to wipe out more than $50 million a year in taxable income over 18 years.

Read the full report on Trump’s tax returns >>