Donald Trump May Not Have Paid Federal Income Taxes Since 1977

Chris Cillizza’s weekly ritual where on Sunday night he reveals ‘Who had the worst week in Washington.’ If he names anyone other than Donald Trump, it’s journalistic malpractice and he should no longer write about the worst week in Washington.

Let’s keep Trump’s no good, terrible, very bad week in perspective:

I guess you have to hand it to Eric Trump. He had warned that if Trump released his taxes, it’d distract from his main message.

We just have one year and this has happened. Of course, his main message had been the ‘check out the sex tape’ joke.

One of Trump’s worst attempts to get off the issue was to assure us his taxes are really boring. Uh:

“The New York Times obtained three pages of Mr. Trump’s 1995 tax returns, for filings in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, marking the first time any of his actual tax returns have been publicly revealed. They showed more than $900 million in losses that could have allowed him to avoid paying any federal income taxes for up to 18 years.”

This is all the mileage we got out of 3 pages from 1995. It was anything but boring.

We know a lot more though there is so much we don’t know. Here’s what we do know: Trump paid taxes in 1975, 1976, and 1977.

“1975: $18,714 in federal income taxes paid. Our diligent fact-checkers compiled data on Trump’s tax history in August, from which the figures through 1977 are taken.”

1976: $10,843 in taxes.

1977: $42,386 in taxes. (Source)

There is no record of him paying anything since. We know he paid nothing in 1978 and 1979. We don’t know about 1980-83. He likely paid none in 1984. 1985 to 1990 are also unknown. In 1991:

Little to no taxes paid. “A 1993 report on Trump’s income tax obligations from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Control obtained by Politico suggests that Trump’s has a net operating loss in 1991 that meant that “any tax resulting” after his income “should be minimal, if any.”

Beyond that you have the 1995 write down of Trump’s almost $1 billion dollars in Atlantic City casino losses. This would have enabled him to pay zero taxes between 1992 and 2010. Post 2012 he’s allegedly been under audit every year.

So, Eric Trump was right-this is a distraction. It’s also not hard to get why he didn’t want release his taxes.

Quite possibly that’s true. As for his base, they won’t be moved by this. But the rest of the public will be.

But I agree that the Holy Grail is putting together an accurate picture of his net worth.

I think this issue has legs for the rest of the campaign. There’s no way to put a lid on it as this was just 3 pages in 1995. True, these 3 pages were a bombshell. But there is so much to learn about both his tax liability-though it seems quite plausible to me he’s paid zero taxes since 1977-and as Rick Wilson says, an accurate picture of his net worth.

In reality on the tax return this is much worse than Mitt Romney. Romney’s problem was he paid low tax rates. But Trump has paid zero taxes possibly for 40 years. He had a huge tax subsidy for his Atlantic City failure. And we still don’t have an accurate picture of his true net worth.

This in content is much worse than Romney’s taxes. And truthfully it’s probably worse than the 47%. Trump has said and done many things worse than that. He’s such an outlier that comparing him to Romney is grossly unfair to Romney.

But I’d say that this just has incredible legs-as there is so much more we don’t know. The speculation itself can very easily fill the remaining 5 weeks till the election.



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