Log Out Donald Trump at the New York Stock Exchange in 1995, when he claimed $916 million in net operating losses.(Photo: KATHY WILLENS, AP) Trump's $916 million net operating loss that the New York Times identified on his 1995 taxes — a loss that could have enabled him to avoid paying federal income taxes for 18 years — might have stemmed from poor business practices.
That's allowed because it can be impossible to get the full tax break for a loss in one year, or even several.
Bob McIntyre, director of the liberal group Citizens for Tax Justice, said the depreciation allowance allowed Trump to "take losses that really weren't losses," which could enable him to pay no income taxes.
Chris Christie and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani claimed Sunday that Trump had a fiduciary duty to shareholders to pay as little taxes as possible, several tax experts noted the losses were claimed on his personal, not business, taxes.
"If I’m allowed a deduction and I take the deduction, it’s difficult to see that as an ethical problem,” said Daniel Shaviro, a tax professor at New York University School off Law.