Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump seemed to flat-out admit during Sunday night’s debate that he used a massive $916 million business loss to dodge paying any income taxes, but declined to say for how long.
Asked if he used the $916 million loss recorded in his 1995 tax records, which was first reported last week by the New York Times, to avoid paying federal income taxes, Trump replied, “Of course.”
“Of course I do,” he repeated. “And so do all of her donors, or most of her donors. I know many of her donors. Her donors took massive tax writeoffs. A lot of my write-off was depreciation, and other things that Hillary as a senator allowed, and she’ll always allow it because the people who give her all this money, they want it.”
Shortly after, Cooper asked, "Can you say how many years you have avoided paying personal federal income taxes?"
"No, but I pay tax and pay federal tax, too," Trump said.
As the Times reported, the massive losses Trump reported in 1995 – from his ill-fated ownership of the Plaza hotel in New York, mismanagement of three Atlantic City casinos, and a short-lived entry into the airline industry – would have legally exempted him from paying federal income taxes for the next 18 years.
NOTE: This post originally said that Trump admitted to dodging taxes for nearly 20 years. In fact, he admitted to using his $916 million writeoff to avoid paying federal income tax, but declined to say how many years he did so.