A new report from the Daily Beast explores two tax appeals filed by presumptive GOP Presidential nominee Donald Trump in the 1990s. The cases, both of which Trump lost, revealed that Trump didn’t pay income taxes in 1984, when he claimed zero income, but more than half a million dollars in expenses.
The first case, which went before a city administrative law judge (ALJ) at two hearings in the spring of 1992, showed that Trump filed as a sole proprietor on his federal tax return 1984, deducting $626,264 in expenses, while not listing any income. Trump deducted $619,227 in his New York State return, and he did not report any income on that return either.
Trump was appealing the government’s demand to pay up, but didn’t provide any documentation to show why he shouldn’t. “The record does not explain how Petitioner [Donald Trump] had significant expenses without any concomitant income from his consulting business,” ALJ H. Gregory Tillman wrote.
Trump’s lawyer and accountant, Jack Mitnick, testified that he was familiar with all of Trump’s tax returns, as well as the finances of Trump Tower, but said he and his firm did not prepare the 1984 tax returns. Despite this, his signature was on a photocopy of the return that was presented before ALJ Tillman, and Mitnick acknowledged that it was indeed his signature. The original tax return was missing at the time. Mitnick told the Daily Beast that he did not have any recollection of the matter.
The second case went before the New York State Division of Tax Appeals in 1994, and dealt with taxes from apartment unit sales in a building, of which Trump had 90% ownership. According to the Daily Beast report, this case also focused on Trump’s 1984 tax returns, specifically how he did not give auditors documentation to support deductions he made. In that case, it was revealed that Trump did not pay any income taxes at all in 1984.
Trump is currently refusing to release his tax returns for 2012 and later, saying he is being audited for those years. While it is not required for candidates to release their tax returns, it has been common practice for decades. The tradition caught on after Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned and later pleaded guilty to tax-related offense in 1973, and President Richard Nixon‘s tax attorney went to prison for making a fraudulent deduction on Nixon’s behalf prior to the President’s resignation in 1974.