The Trump campaign attacked the New York Times for illegally obtaining his 1995 tax return. Photograph:( AFP )
A startling report by the New York Times said the Republican US presidential candidate Donald Trump declared a whopping $916 million loss on his 1995 income tax return, allowing him to legally avoid paying taxes for decades.
"The 1995 tax records, never before disclosed, reveal the extraordinary tax benefits that Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, derived from the financial wreckage he left behind in the early 1990s through mismanagement of three Atlantic City casinos, his ill-fated foray into the airline business and his ill-timed purchase of the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan," the report said.
The investigative report by the major US daily suggested that the extraordinary loss shown by the billionaire would have been large enough to wipe out more than $50 million a year in taxable income over 18 years.
Tax experts hired by the Times to analyse Trump's 1995 records said such tax rules are especially advantageous to wealthy filers to avoid paying taxes legally. Trump's taxable income in the following years is unknown.
The Trump campaign attacked the publication, saying his income tax returns were obtained illegally and that the daily acts as "an extension of the Clinton Campaign, the Democratic Party and their global special interests."
"What is happening now with the FBI and DOJ (Department of Justice) on Hillary Clinton's emails and illegal server, including her many lies and her lies to Congress are worse than what took place in the administration of Richard Nixon - and far more illegal," it said.
"Mr Trump knows the tax code far better than anyone who has ever run for president and he is the only one that knows how to fix it," the campaign added.
The statement issued by the Trump campaign did not address the 1995 losses.
"Mr. Trump is a highly-skilled businessman who has a fiduciary responsibility to his business, his family and his employees to pay no more tax than legally required," the statement said.
"That being said, Mr. Trump has paid hundreds of millions of dollars in property taxes, sales and excise taxes, real estate taxes, city taxes, state taxes, employee taxes and federal taxes," it added, giving no specifics.
Trump has refused to release his tax records, as US presidential candidates customarily do in the interest of transparency. He has said his taxes are under federal audit.
At the first of the three scheduled presidential debates last Monday, when Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton raised the issue of his tax records, Trump retorted by saying "I will release my tax returns, against my lawyer's wishes, when she releases her 33,000 emails that have been deleted."
(WION with inputs from agencies)