When asked at Sunday night's presidential debate if he used his $916 million loss to avoid paying federal income taxes, Donald Trump replied simply "of course." But he didn't let Hillary Clinton off the hook either, claiming "and so do all of her donors, or most of her donors. I know many of her donors."
Billionaire Warren Buffett wasn't so sure about that. Trump "has not seen my income tax returns," Buffett, a Clinton supporter, wrote in a statement he published Monday. "But I am happy to give him the facts." Those facts could be a little awkward for Trump:
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.
The total charitable contributions I made during the year were $2,858,057,970, of which more than $2.85 billion were not taken as deductions and never will be. Tax law properly limits charitable deductions.
My federal income tax for the year was $1,845,557. Returns for previous years are of a similar nature in respect to contributions, deductions, and tax rates.
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.
Finally, I have been audited by the IRS multiple times and am currently being audited. I have no problem releasing my tax information while under audit. Neither would Mr. Trump — at least he would have no legal problem. [Warren Buffett via Bloomberg]
Legal experts have repeatedly agreed that there is no legal issue preventing Trump from releasing his tax returns.