United States presidential nominee Donald Trump could have legally avoided paying income taxes for up to 18 years, The New York Times reported on Saturday. Documents accessed by the daily showed that the Republican Party candidate declared a loss of $916 million (approximately Rs 6,096.5 crore) in 1995, which would have allowed him to access tax benefits to avoid paying income taxes on up to $50 million (approximately Rs 332.7 crore) every year.
Trump would have been able to utilise those benefits despite his businesses being in better financial shape, according to the Times. Tax analysts hired by the daily to go through his records said the businessman had a “vast benefit” from the “destruction” of his ventures, which included an airline as well as the casino and hotel business. The loss would have also allowed the nominee to not pay taxes on the money he was paid for hosting television show The Apprentice.
Trump’s campaign did not comment on the documents accessed by the paper and said the politician had paid “hundreds of millions of dollars” in various kinds of taxes, including property, sales and real estate. “Mr. Trump knows the tax code far better than anyone who has ever run for President,” the campaign added. A lawyer for Trump threatened to take “appropriate legal action” against the newspaper, arguing that it was illegal on their part to publish the information.
The paper, which has endorsed Trump’s Democratic Party rival Hillary Clinton for president, has called the Republican politician “the worst nominee put forward by a major party in modern American history”. The election campaign has seen Trump scrutinised for his refusal to reveal his tax returns, which he has said are being audited by the US Internal Revenue Service. He has also been accused of xenophobic, racist and sexist comments.