‘I have paid federal income tax every year since 1944, when I was 13’
via Flickr user (cc) Gage Skidmore and Wild1968
Despite promising to release his tax returns during the 2016 election, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has broken his pledge and withheld his returns claiming he’s under audit. This has led to rampant speculation that the supposed billionaire contributes very little charity and doesn’t pay any taxes. These claims were bolstered by leaked documents that show he took a $916 million loss in 1995. This loss was so significant it may have allowed him to shield his income from being taxed for up to 18 years.
Last night, Trump confirmed that he used his massive losses to avoid paying the taxman saying, “Of course I do. Of course I do.” But when asked if he could reveal how long he’s avoided paying taxes he said, “No.” Trump also discussed how he used the tax code to lower his burden and accused Clinton’s friend billionaire Warren Buffett of doing the same. “Many of her friends took bigger deductions,” he said. “Warren Buffett took a massive deduction.”
Today, Warren Buffett put his money where his mouth is and and challenged Trump’s false allegations saying, “I have paid federal income tax every year since 1944, when I was 13. (Though, being a slow starter, I owed only $7 in tax that year.) I have copies of all 72 of my returns and none uses a carryforward.” Buffett also shared some details of his most recent tax return: “My 2015 return shows adjusted gross income of $11,563,931. My deductions totaled $5,477,694, of which allowable charitable contributions were $3,469,179. All but $36,037 of the remainder was for state income taxes.”
Buffett also revealed that in 2015 he gave $2,858,057,970 to charity—a startling figure given the fact that Trump lied about donating $1 million to a veteran’s organization earlier this year. At the end of his statement, Buffet put a final pin in Trump’s balloon by saying this tax information was disclosed while being under audit. “I have no problem in releasing my tax information while under audit,” Buffet says. “Neither would Mr. Trump – at least he would have no legal problem.”