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Tax return bombshell puts Trump on the defensive ahead of first debate

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Joe Bidens campaign seized on a fresh line of attack on the eve of the Democratic presidential nominees first debate with President Donald Trump, accusing the Republican incumbent of gaming the system to avoid paying his fair share of taxes.

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Trump, a self-proclaimed billionaire who is seeking reelection in the Nov. 3 vote, paid only $750 in federal income taxes in both 2016 and 2017, after years of reporting heavy losses from his businesses to offset hundreds of millions of dollars in income, the New York Times reported on Sunday, citing tax-return data.

The Times also reported that Trump paid no federal income tax in 10 of the previous 15 years through 2017, despite receiving $427.4 million through 2018 from his reality television program and other endorsement and licensing deals.

Jared Bernstein, one of Bidens top economic advisers, said the report highlighted the need to simplify the tax code and make people like Trump pay their fair share.

“The vast majority of us pay taxes and get on with life. But the richer you are, the more tax lawyers you employ, the more complex you can make your holdings – all of this can, as the piece shows reduce your tax liability to zero,” Bernstein said on Twitter.

IMHO, this is one of the biggest punchlines of the NYT's Trump tax reveal so far. The vast majority of us pay taxes and get on with life. But the richer you are, the more tax lawyers you employ, the more complex you can make your holdings–all of this can, as the piece shows… https://t.co/zco3McwjIN

— Jared Bernstein (@econjared) September 28, 2020

Within hours of the report, Bidens campaign had released a video listing the thousands of dollars in income tax typically paid by an elementary school teacher, firefighter, construction manager and registered nurse, before contrasting Trumps reported $750 bill in 2017. The campaign also started selling stickers that say, “I Paid More In Taxes Than Donald Trump.”

Trump has dismissed the report as “fake news.” On Monday, he tweeted that he had paid “many millions of dollars in taxes” but was entitled to depreciation and tax credits and was “extremely under-leveraged” in terms of his debt and assets.

White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany described the report as a hit job that was straight out of the Democratic playbook. “Weve seen this play out before … purported tax information dropping the eve of a debate. They tried this in 2016 – it didnt work,” she told Fox Business Network.

US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, told MSNBC the presidents reported debts raised questions of national security.

First debate

Trump and Biden will square off in their first debate in Cleveland, Ohio, on Tuesday, five weeks before the election. Polls show Biden leading Trump nationally and in a number of key battleground states.

“I am looking very forward to the debate,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Monday.

Americans in shock at Trump tax return revelations

The 90-minute televised debate is likely to focus in part on Trumps handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 200,000 Americans, and his push to fill the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburgs seat on the high court.

The re-emergence of Trumps tax history as an election issue — in 2016 he broke a decades-old tradition of presidential nominees releasing their tax returns when seeking the White House — offers Biden another avenue of attack Tuesday evening.

The former vice president is trying to turn the tables on Trump, whRead More – Source