Advertisement
  1. Business

PolitiFact: Trump has indeed paid taxes, contrary to Clinton's contention

FILE - In this May 12, 2016 file photo, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks in New York. Donald Trump kept himself planted firmly in the political spotlight this week with one headline-grabbing move after another, launching a social media defense of his treatment of women, listing possible Supreme Court nominees, rapidly declaring an Egyptian plane crash an act of terrorism. His likely general election opponent, Hillary Clinton, seemed content to hang in the background.(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File) WX105
FILE - In this May 12, 2016 file photo, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks in New York. Donald Trump kept himself planted firmly in the political spotlight this week with one headline-grabbing move after another, launching a social media defense of his treatment of women, listing possible Supreme Court nominees, rapidly declaring an Egyptian plane crash an act of terrorism. His likely general election opponent, Hillary Clinton, seemed content to hang in the background.(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File) WX105
Published May 27, 2016

The statement

"The only two (Donald Trump tax returns) we have show that he hasn't paid a penny in taxes."

Hillary Clinton, May 22 on NBC's Meet the Press

The ruling

Clinton has one thing correct here — public records do indicate that there were two years in the 1970s when Trump paid nothing in federal taxes. But she got a few key points wrong. Namely, the same public records show three other years in which Trump did pay federal income taxes. Also, the public records Clinton referred to are not Trump's actual tax returns.

When we checked with the Clinton campaign, we were referred to a Washington Post story headlined, "Trump once revealed his income tax returns. They showed he didn't pay a cent." The source for the story is a document uncovered and posted online by the Washington Post's Fact Checker Glenn Kessler. He used it to show that, contrary to Trump's claim that "there's nothing to learn" from his tax returns, the returns can reveal a great deal about a presidential candidate. Kessler gave Trump's statement that there was "nothing to learn" four Pinocchios.

The key document relevant to Clinton's statement is a 1981 report by New Jersey gambling regulators analyzing Trump's finances as part of his efforts to get a casino license for a proposed casino-hotel complex. Page 33 reports on Trump's income and federal tax payments for 1975 through 1979.

The report says that Trump did, in fact, pay federal taxes for three of those five years, a fact omitted in the Washington Post headline and story. It does not include the actual returns.

The report says Trump paid no federal income tax in 1978 and 1979 because, according to the tax rules, he lost money.

Here's the rundown on Trump's taxes. For perspective, we've also listed the amounts in 2016 dollars.

YearIncomeFederal taxIncome (in current dollars)Federal tax (in current dollars)
1975$76,210$18,714$338,923$83,225
1976$24,594$10,832$103,416$45,548
1977$118,530$42,386$467,980$167,348
1978$406,379 loss$0$1,491,268 loss$0
1979$3,443,560 loss$0$11,348,617 loss$0
YearIncomeFederal taxIncome (in current dollars)Federal tax (in current dollars)
1975$76,210$18,714$338,923$83,225
1976$24,594$10,832$103,416$45,548
1977$118,530$42,386$467,980$167,348
1978$406,379 loss$0$1,491,268 loss$0
1979$3,443,560 loss$0$11,348,617 loss$0
New Jersey's Division of Gaming Enforcement, which verified his income, losses and deductions, said Trump's losses came from the operation of his various properties.

But the report reveals no specifics, so the details of his tax returns for those years remain a mystery.

Trump has made it clear in interviews and debates that he works aggressively to pay as little in taxes as possible.

We contacted Trump's campaign and didn't hear back.

We don't know a lot about Trump's tax situation, a fact exacerbated by his unwillingness to release his full tax returns.

Public records show that Trump did not pay federal income taxes in two years — 1978 and 1979 — which is what Clinton was referencing. But the same records include information from three other years — 1975, 1976, and 1977 — when Trump did pay federal income taxes.

The records we have are not full tax returns, which makes learning more about those years (or any others) difficult.

Clinton's statement contains an element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression. We rate it Mostly False.

Edited for print. Read the full version at PolitiFact.com.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

  1. A pair of wood storks, left, and a large group of white ibis rest and feed in a wetland area off Loop Road in the Big Cypress National Preserve. Florida is home to more wetlands than any other state except Alaska. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times (2008)]
  2. People fill Community Cafe as drag queen Viktoria Sommers reads a Dr. Seuss book to children during Drag Queen Story Hour.  [Times (2019)]
  3. Tampa Electric Co. announced plans to double its solar capacity over the next three years.  Pictured is a Tampa Electric worker installing a solar panel on the roof of the Tampa International Airport economy parking garage in 2015. [James Borchuck | Times (2015)]
  4. Wawa and Coppertail partnered to create a craft beer that will only be at the gas station's Florida locations.
  5. The Publix at Channelside (pictured) opened in late August. Now the new store at Westshore in Tampa will open later this month. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  6. Brian Davison is chief executive officer of Equialt, which bought this Safety Harbor home in a tax deed sale. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission contends in a new lawsuit that EquiAlt is a Ponzi scheme, and Davison has diverted investor funds for his own lavish personal spending. Times (2015)
  7. Daily recreations like this Bible scene at the Holy Land Experience in Orlando will end at the Christian theme park, which has been suffering from low attendance and debt for years.
  8. Madico spent $40 million developing its new corporate headquarters and factory on Belcher Road in Pinellas Park. [Amy Pezzicara | Pezz Photo]
  9. The developers of Avalon Park West in Wesley Chapel are planning a $736 million downtown core to accompany nearly 2,700 residences and 355,000 square feet of commercial and office space in a walkable neighborhood. . As part of the deal, Pasco County will consider kicking  in a $33 million 30-year incentive, mostly a tax rebate to help with infrastructure costs.
  10. Pasco County commissioners introduced an ordinance Tuesday governing upkeep of empty property after residents complained about the condition of the Links Golf Club in Hudson, which closed in June 2019.
  11. In this Aug. 8, 2015, file photo former owner of the San Francisco 49ers Edward DeBartolo, Jr., is interviewed before the Pro Football Hall of Fame ceremony at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio. President Donald Trump pardoned DeBartolo, who was convicted in gambling fraud scandal. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)
  12. Outback Steakhouse at 4302 W. Boy Scout Blvd. near International Plaza and Bay Street. [Monique Welch | Times]
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement