When it comes to paying taxes, Donald Trump is no Warren Buffett.
During Sunday’s presidential debate, Trump acknowledged claiming a $916 million loss in 1995 to avoid paying personal federal income taxes for years, and compared the approach to that used by wealthy backers of his opponent, including Buffett.
By Monday afternoon, the billionaire investor offered a public rebuke to Trump, releasing a statement Monday entitled “Some Tax Facts for Donald Trump,” saying he had paid federal income tax every year since 1944 -- when Buffett was 13 and, “being a slow starter,” owed just $7:
Answering a question last night about his $916 million income tax loss carryforward in 1995, Donald Trump stated that “Warren Buffett took a massive deduction.” Mr. Trump says he knows more about taxes than any other human. He has not seen my income tax returns. But I am happy to give him the facts.
My 2015 return shows adjusted gross income of $11,563,931. My deductions totaled $5,477,694, of which allowable charitable contributions were $3,469,179. All but $36,037 of the remainder was for state income taxes.
The total charitable contributions I made during the year were $2,858,057,970, of which more than $2.85 billion were not taken as deductions and never will be. Tax law properly limits charitable deductions.
My federal income tax for the year was $1,845,557. Returns for previous years are of a similar nature in respect to contributions, deductions and tax rates.
I have paid federal income tax every year since 1944, when I was 13. (Though, being a slow starter, I owed only $7 in tax that year.) I have copies of all 72 of my returns and none uses a carryforward.
Finally, I have been audited by the IRS multiple times and am currently being audited. I have no problem in releasing my tax information while under audit. Neither would Mr. Trump – at least he would have no legal problem.
“I have copies of all 72 of my returns and none uses a carryforward,” said Buffett of the strategy used by Trump to uses losses incurred one year to offset gains in subsequent years.
Buffett said his 2015 return shows adjusted gross income of nearly $11.6 million and federal income tax of a little over $1.8 million. His $5.5 million in allowable charitable deductions were a fraction of the nearly $2.9 billion in charitable donations he said he made last year.
“I have been audited by the IRS multiple times and am currently being audited,” wrote Buffett. “I have no problem in releasing my tax information while under audit. Neither would Mr. Trump – at least he would have no legal problem.”