Bernie Sanders announces bill to close loopholes Trump used to avoid paying taxes for 18 years

As anyone could predict, there was a reason Donald Trump was so adamant about not releasing his tax returns (which, FYI, every presidential candidate for the past 40 years, including Richard not-so-transparent Nixon, has done). That reason was that, as The New York Times reported last week, Trump has likely avoided paying taxes for roughly 18 years. On Tuesday, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders announced a bill to close tax loopholes specifically used by Trump, which he plans to introduce in the next session of Congress.

“Special tax breaks and loopholes in a corrupt tax code enable billionaires and powerful corporations to avoid paying their fair share of taxes while sticking the burden on the middle class,” Sanders announced in a statement. “It’s time to create a tax system which is fair and which asks the wealthy and powerful to start paying their fair share of taxes.”

The New York Times reported that Trump avoided paying taxes primarily by claiming to have more than $916 million is losses in 1995, which could have allowed him to legally avoid paying federal income taxes for up to 18 years. The economic failures of three Trump casinos and an Atlantic City hotel in the 1990s were essentially what allowed Trump to claim those losses on his tax filings to offset future taxable income, Tax Policy Center analysts suggest. Given all that we know about Trump, it’s difficult to imagine the real estate mogul not taking full and complete advantage of this.

At any rate, in a not-so-subtle “fuck you” to Trump, Sanders’ plan would directly dismantle all possible escape routes for Trump in the future. By cutting the exemption for “passive loss rules” derived from the Tax Reform Act of 1986, Trump would no longer be able to offset losses from his real estate business in his personal tax returns.

Sanders would additionally shut down an exemption that allows real estate professionals to use losses against non-real estate income, in the year the losses are acquired and in earlier years too, as well as the “like-kind exchanges” loopholes that disproportionately benefit those in the real estate business by allowing them to avoid paying taxes on capital gains through selling properties and quickly reinvesting the money in another property.

Bernie Sanders Campaigns Across Iowa Ahead Of Caucuses
CREDIT: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Further, Sanders specifically notes in his press release that another exemption Trump thrived on allowed him to “borrow money to make an investment, take deductions for the interest he pays on the debt and take deductions if the property depreciates,” or basically “combine tax breaks for borrowing with tax breaks when an investment rapidly loses values,” which Sanders also addresses in his new bill.

Throughout the primary season, despite the fact that Trump was never really his opponent, Sanders consistently put the billionaire on blast for his exploitative and even down-right fraudulent business practices, so it’s no surprise Sanders is still trying to expose the hypocrisy of Trump quite literally claiming to be the richest man in the world while simultaneously evading taxes by claiming to lose millions of dollars. If the millions Trump has allegedly avoided paying for nearly two decades prove anything, it’s that plans like Sanders’ to close tax loopholes and breaks could raise a substantial amount of money for the country.