Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Trump Tries To Minimize His Refusal To Pay Income Taxes

(The photos of Warren Buffett and Donald Trump are from cnn.com.)

The issue of Donald Trump and his income taxes came up again in the debate on Sunday night. Hillary Clinton pointed out that Trump still has not released any of his tax returns (as all other modern presidential candidates have done). She also pointed out that Trump had likely not paid any income taxes for 18-19 years.

Surprisingly, Trump admitted that he had used a paperwork loss on his 1995 income tax return to avoid paying any taxes for many years. Then he tried to minimize his tax evasion by claiming it is commonplace among the rich to avoid paying taxes. He doesn't seem to realize that the old "other people are doing it too" argument doesn't excuse his own behavior, and is certainly not going to be appreciated by the general public.

He even tried to claim that Clinton-supporter Warren Buffett was also a tax evader, saying:

"Many of her friends took bigger deductions. Warren Buffett took a massive deduction." 

That didn't sit well with Buffett. who revealed that he had written the federal government a check of $1.9 million to pay his 2015 taxes. He said he had an income of $11.6 million, and took $5.5 million in deductions ($3.5 million of which were in charitable deduction -- only a tiny fraction of his total gifts to charity in 2015).

Mr. Buffett said:

"Mr. Trump says he knows more about taxes than any other human. He has not seen my income tax returns. But I am happy to give him the facts."

"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 carry forward."

"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."

Buffett has revealed his taxes. It's time for Donald Trump to do the same. Has Trump donated any money to charity? Has Trump paid any income taxes in the last few years? The voting public deserves to know. It's past time for Trump to release his tax returns.

And Trump needs to stop offering the pathetic excuse that he is being audited. The IRS said that shouldn't stop his returns from being released, and other candidates have released returns during an audit. The people know that is just an excuse to keep from releasing the returns -- and most believe Trump is trying to hide something by not releasing the returns.

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