As Donald Trump declared a $916 million loss in 1995 that experts say could have let him avoid federal income taxes for nearly two decades, Hillary Clinton and her husband paid $75,437 in federal income taxes.
The Clintons filed jointly that year: Bill Clinton was president, taking home a $202,423 salary for the job, while Hillary Clinton, as first lady, was not paid.
The pair netted $88,441 in capital gains from investments in a blind trust. While decades of tax returns for Clintons are readily available online, detailing every tax bill and charitable donation over the last twenty years, Trump has refused to release his tax returns, leaving his financials largely a mystery mired in the candidate's boasts.
And the handful of pages reported by the New York Times do not detail the taxes Trump paid. Instead, they show how the businessman could have avoided paying taxes on nearly a billion dollars of profit over 18 years, thanks to the financial wreckage from Trump's failed Atlantic City casinos, a brief stint in the airline business, and poorly timed purchase of Manhattan’s Plaza Hotel.
Trump’s campaign told the Times in a statement that the candidate has "paid hundred of millions in property taxes, sales and excise taxes, real estate taxes, city taxes, state taxes, employee taxes, and federal taxes," but it did not dispute their reporting.
But in the absence of tax returns, there's no proof of what Trump has or hasn't paid. The only Trump tax returns that have been made public are a handful from the late 1970s released to casino regulators; they showed that Trump didn’t pay federal income taxes for two years, paying a total of $71,943 over three other years.
The campaign and its surrogates have argued that Trump's maneuvering around tax law is proof of of the candidate's intelligence.
And in Monday’s debate, Trump argued that not paying federal income taxes in the late 1970s “makes me smart.”
Trump’s tax bills aren’t the only thing releasing his tax returns would clear up: the candidate’s charitable giving has also come under question as boasts are often not backed up with donations. A lengthy Washington Post investigation has found little proof to his claims at millions in donations.
In 1995, the Clintons gave $30,310 to charity.