Donald Trump says he 'brilliantly used' tax laws to his advantage

Republican candidate has come under increased pressure to release his full tax records

donald trump

Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Loveland, Colorado | Photo: PA Images

Donald Trump has said he "brilliantly used" US tax laws to benefit his investors and staff.

The US presidential nominee is under pressure over claims he may have legally avoided paying federal tax for nearly two decades.

"My understanding of the tax code gave me a tremendous advantage over those who didn’t have a clue about it, including many of my competitors who lost everything they had, never to be heard from again," he told a rally in Colorado.

It follows a New York Times report that the New York billionaire declared a $916m (€815m) loss on his 1995 income tax returns.

Tax experts hired by the newspaper said tax rules which are advantageous to wealthy filers would have let Mr Trump use his loss to cancel out an equivalent amount of taxable income over an 18-year period.

The Times said that although Mr Trump's taxable income in subsequent years is as yet unknown, the loss would have been large enough to wipe out more than $50m (€44m) a year in taxable income over 18 years.

The Trump campaign said in response that the documents were illegally obtained and that the paper was operating as an extension of Democratic rival Hillary Clinton's campaign.

Speaking in Colorado last night, Mr Trump admitted to being a beneficiary of the tax system during a difficult period for real estate developers. He did not comment, however, on the report's accuracy. 

"I have legally used the tax laws to my benefit and to the benefit of my company, my investors and my employees,” he said.

The Republican candidate has so far declined to release his tax records, saying his taxes are under a federal audit.

Despite this, experts say he could still release them publicly if he wanted to.

Mr Trump's comments come after he was ordered to cease fundraising in New York by the state's attorney general.

A notice published by Eric Schneiderman yesterday said the foundation solicited contributions in New York earlier this year without required certification.