Failed real estate mogul and current GOP presidential nominee #Donald Trump, who recently paid $20,000 for a painting of himself with charity money, is bragging to reporters and to supporters about how he "legally" avoided paying #taxes for 18 years. Trump's tax returns from the 1990's, which were obtained by the #New York Times, show that in 1995, Trump sustained losses of $916 million.

A tax loophole

Trump was able to use that $916 million loss to his advantage by declaring losses for two years before the loss (1993 and 1994) and for fifteen years after the loss (to 2010). All of those losses, including the year 1995 itself, added up to eighteen years that Trump spread out his $916 million loss and was able to avoid paying any taxes.

Trump describes himself as "brilliant"

Trump, who is under attack from Colin Powell for claiming that President Obama is a Muslim, described himself as "brilliant" for avoiding the tax collector for all those years. He attributed this accomplishment (if you can call it that) to the fact that he "knew the tax code." He also lamented that he "knew how to fight" and "was fighting" the IRS and utilizing loopholes that are not readily available to average, hard-working, middle-class citizens.

Campaign accuses NY Times of breaking the law

Although the Trump campaign confirmed the validity of the 1995 tax returns, it nevertheless is accusing the New York Times of "illegally obtaining" the tax returns. The campaign has not indicated if it will take any action against the New York Times for "illegally" acquiring the tax returns. However, the campaign has claimed that Trump has paid "hundreds to millions" of dollars in "other taxes."

Three kinds of taxes

The only kinds of "other taxes" are state taxes, property taxes and sales taxes. It is doubtful if Trump paid any state taxes for those 18 years because most federal tax write-offs also apply at the state level. It is also doubtful that he paid much in the way of sales taxes because as an international businessman, he acquires most of what he purchases wholesale and does not pay sales taxes on such acquisitions.

He most likely is paying property taxes on the various buildings that he owns throughout the nation; although he gets most of that money back from tenants who rent his buildings, offices, apartments, etc.. And so it is doubtful that Trump pays very much "out of pocket" in any kinds of taxes at all levels.