Dear Commons Community,
The last time information from Donald Trump’s income-tax returns was made public, he paid the federal government $0 in income taxes as reported by several media sources including ABC News and The Washington Post.
Trump, who has declined to release his tax returns during the campaign season, incurred no tax liability in 1978 and 1979, New Jersey gambling regulators found, when they looked into his tax returns and personal finances in connection with the Trump Plaza Corporation’s 1981 application for a casino license.
Trump claimed negative income in both those years: losses of $406,379 in 1978 and $3,443,560 in 1979. In 1975, 1976, and 1977, he claimed $76,210, $24,594, and $118,530 in income, respectively, paying $18,714, $10,832, and $42,386 in federal taxes, according to the document, the Report to the Casino Control Commission.
The regulators “did not ascertain any inconsistent or questionable matters” in Trump’s returns, they wrote.
The findings were included in a report obtained by ABC News and verified by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission. Although the regulators viewed Trump’s tax returns from 1975 to 1979, they did not include the actual returns in their report to the commission.
Today, as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Trump regularly denounces corporate executives for using loopholes and “false deductions” to “get away with murder” when it comes to avoiding taxes.
“They make a fortune. They pay no tax,” Trump said last year on CBS.
The contrast highlights a potentially awkward challenge for Trump.
He has built a political identity around his reputation as a financial whiz, even bragging about his ability to game the tax code to pay as little as possible to the government — a practice he has called the “American way.” Moreover, he has aggressively pursued tax breaks and other government supports to bolster his real estate empire. But that history threatens to collide with his efforts to woo working-class voters who resent that they often pay higher tax rates than the wealthy who benefit from special loopholes.