Donald Trump pressured over tax returns as Clinton surges in swing states
Saturday 13/August/2016 - 11:24 PM
Donald Trump، the Republican presidential nominee، could have paid little or even zero income tax in recent years despite valuing his own worth at more than $10 billion، experts have said, according to the telegraph.
Mr Trump has so far refused to release his tax returns despite every other presidential nominee، Republican and Democrat، having done so for the past 40 years.
As pressure mounted on him to make them public there were growing signs the Republican Party was nearing breaking point with its nominee، with some insiders admitting they already believe the White House is lost.
It came after a week in which Mr Trump falsely and repeatedly claimed President Barack Obama was the "founder" of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil)، appeared to joke about his Democrat rival Hillary Clinton being assassinated، and contemplated defeat for the first time saying he would "take a very، very nice long vacation".
As Mrs Clinton soared in polls in key swing states، the chorus of anti-Trump voices grew. Robert De Niro، the Oscar-winning actor، said Mr Trump was "totally nuts."
Mr De Niro compared Mr Trump to Travis Bickle، the mentally disturbed character he played in his 1976 film Taxi Driver. He added: "God help us."
But the Democrats suffered their own setback as the personal emails and mobile phone numbers of nearly 200 senior officials، including congressmen، were posted on the internet by suspected Russian hackers.
Speculation surrounding Mr Trump's taxes returned to the forefront of the election after Mrs Clinton released her latest annual return for 2015 last week.
It showed she and husband Bill Clinton paid 30.6 per cent of their $10.6 million earnings in federal income tax.
Tax experts suggested Mr Trump could legally have taken advantage of generous deductions open to property developers.
Len Green، chairman of the Green Group، a tax consulting service، said: "It's certainly feasible that he may be paying zero."
Mr Trump has more than 500 businesses in his property empire. Despite making large profits، such property companies can be shown to make losses on paper using legitimate accounting methods like depreciating the value of buildings over time and factoring in operating costs.
As an "active real estate developer"، Mr Trump would be allowed to deduct such losses when assessing his taxable income.
"I'm not appalled by this at all، our system allows it،" said Mr Green، author of The Entrepreneurial Playbook. "Is it a special case for real estate developers? Yes. But we encourage development in the United States."
A handful of Mr Trump's annual returns have emerged over the years through other sources.
Those showed that in 1978 and 1979 he reported negative income، meaning no tax liability، following losses on New York properties. The same happened in 1991 and 1993 after losses on casino and hotel businesses.
When the returns from the 1990s emerged in June this year Mr Trump's response was: "Welcome to the real estate business."
Steven M. Rosenthal، a tax lawyer and senior fellow at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Centre in Washington، said the billionaire may be paying a "paltry" amount.
He said: "We won't know until we see the returns but I suspect it's very، very low. The real estate business is particularly flexible، it's a sector that has a lot of extra advantages.
"Some would say it demonstrates the dysfunction of our tax system.
"Others would say 'More power to him، I would do it if I could'."
Mr Trump has said he cannot release his returns، under the advice of lawyers، because he is under a routine audit by the Internal Revenue Service.
However، the IRS itself has said that does not prevent him releasing the returns.
Professor Peter Navarro، economic adviser to Mr Trump، said: "They (the Democrats) just want to know how much he's worth so they can plan their strategy against him. I would advise him not to release them."
At a rally in Pennsylvania، a key swing state، Mr Trump responded by arguing that the election could be rigged in favour of Mrs Clinton.
He said: "The only way they can beat us here، and I mean this 100 per cent، is if they cheat."