Donald Trump paid no federal income taxes in 1978 and 1979, according to tax returns discovered by The Washington Post. Trump, like many building developers at the time, took advantage of a provision in the tax code that allowed him to report negative income to the IRS.
Trump has refused to release his tax returns this presidential election cycle, citing an IRS audit preventing him from making them public. This means the public cannot see how much money he makes, how much he gives to charity and how aggressively he uses deductions, shelters and other tactics to shrink his tax bill.
Trump, who said last week on ABC that his tax rate is “none of your business,” would be the first major party nominee in 40 years to not release his returns.
He criticized the 2012 Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, for delaying the release of his returns. Romney, a former private-equity executive, had come under fire for paying a low tax rate because most of his income came from investments.
Romney eventually released returns showing that, for his 2011 taxes, he chose not to take certain deductions, bringing his tax rate more in line with that of average Americans.