In 1970s, Trump Used Tax Loophole To Pay Zero Taxes

| by Ray Brown
Donald TrumpDonald Trump

Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump has so far refused to release his tax returns, but there are some tax returns in the late 1970s that were already made public before he announced his presidential run. And in those years, the real estate billionaire reportedly paid $0 in federal income taxes.

The disclosure was part of a 1981 report by New Jersey gambling regulators, according to the Washington Post. In the report, Trump took advantage of a tax-code provision popular with developers that allowed him to report negative income.

Although Trump reportedly didn't break any laws and only used the tax code to his advantage, some critics have leveled accusations of hypocrisy against the candidate because he has criticized rich executives for paying too little in taxes.

"They're paying nothing and it's ridiculous," Trump told CBS in August 2015. "I want to save the middle class. The hedge fund guys didn't build this country. These are guys that shift paper around and they get lucky."

He added that he would raise the capital gains tax on hedge fund managers, who currently pay a top rate of about 20 percent, which is significantly lower than the top income tax bracket rate of 39.6 percent.

"Some of them are friends of mine, some of them I couldn't care less about," Trump said. "It's the wrong thing."

During that interview, Trump added that he wants to lower rates for the middle class.

"Man who complains about wealthy using tax loopholes used them to pay zero income tax," Gideon Resnick, a reporter for The Daily Beast, tweeted on May 20.

But Trump switching positions on issues is nothing new.

The New York businessman has often complained that politicians are too easily bought off, something he said he saw first-hand because he has made donations in exchange for political favors. Trump had even given to Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton in the past.

"Hillary Clinton, I said be at my wedding, and she came to my wedding," Trump said at the first GOP presidential debate in Cleveland in 2015, according to ABC News. "She had no choice because I gave to a foundation.”

"I gave to many people before this," he added. "When they call, I give. And you know what, when I need something from them two years later, three years later, I call them. They are there for me."

After originally touting that he would self-fund his campaign to avoid this type of corruption, Trump signed joint fundraising agreements with the Republican national committee and 11 state parties on May 17, NPR notes. These agreements will allow Trump to take in major donations from big donors -- the same donors he once called "highly sophisticated killers."

Sources: Washington Post, CBS News, ABC News, Gideon Resnick/Twitter, NPR / Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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