Revealed: Trump Didn’t Avoid Paying Taxes for 18 Years, as NY Times Suggested

Flashback: Trump's taxes were subject of debate with Hillary Clinton
March 15, 2017 Updated: March 15, 2017

The White House released President Donald Trump’s tax return for 2005 on Tuesday, after MSNBC’s Rachael Maddow publicized reporter David Cay Johnston’s scoop on them.

The papers showed that Trump earned around $150 million in income in 2005 and paid $38 million in taxes, disproving an Oct. 1, 2016, New York Times story headlined, “Donald Trump Tax Records Show He Could Have Avoided Taxes for Nearly Two Decades, The Times Found.”

The story, posted a month before Election Day, wrote that Trump “declared a $916 million loss on his 1995 income tax returns,” which would have allowed him to “legally avoid paying any federal income taxes for up to 18 years.”

The Times, meanwhile, suggested that the 1995 tax documents show Trump got “extraordinary tax benefits” that were “derived from the financial wreckage he left behind in the early 1990s through mismanagement of three Atlantic City casinos.” It added: “Tax experts hired by The Times to analyze Mr. Trump’s 1995 records said that tax rules especially advantageous to wealthy filers would have allowed Mr. Trump to use his $916 million loss to cancel out an equivalent amount of taxable income over an 18-year period.” 

Trump was asked about the Times report during a presidential debate, and his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, at the time suggested he doesn’t pay federal income taxes.

Clinton claimed Trump didn’t “want the American people, all of you watching tonight, to know that he’s paid nothing in federal taxes, because the only years that anybody’s ever seen were a couple of years when he had to turn them over to state authorities when he was trying to get a casino license, and they showed he didn’t pay any federal income tax.”

“That makes me smart,” Trump responded in the exchange.

In a statement to several news outlets, the White House confirmed Johnston’s scoop. “You know you are desperate for ratings when you are willing to violate the law to push a story about two pages of tax returns from over a decade ago,” the statement read. The administration noted it’s “totally illegal to steal and publish tax returns,” while slamming the “dishonest media.”

In a Tuesday tweet, Trump wrote: “Does anybody really believe that a reporter, who nobody ever heard of, ‘went to his mailbox’ and found my tax returns? @NBCNews FAKE NEWS!”