(Bloomberg) Hillary Clinton accused Donald Trump of gaming the tax system to avoid paying federal income taxes while the Republican nominee said the blame lies with politicians who created a complex Tax Code at the bidding of special interests.
"Trump was taking from America with both hands and leaving the rest of us with the bill," Clinton said Monday at a campaign rally in Toledo, Ohio. "He’s taken corporate excess and made a business model out of it.”
At an event later in Pueblo, Colo., Trump said he's “brilliantly used” system for his own benefit, but added that “the unfairness of the tax laws is unbelievable.”
"I have a fiduciary responsibility to pay no more tax than is legally required," Trump told his audience. "This is not the fault of the IRS but the political class that is owned outright by the special interests and lobbyists."
Both candidates' comments were their first since the New York Times reported late Saturday that Trump recorded a $916 million loss on his 1995 income tax returns, potentially allowing him to take large deductions for more than a decade.
Clinton used the report to hit Trump on one of his central arguments — that he is best suited to be president because of his business record — in a broader speech outlining her proposals aimed at raising corporate accountability and rooting out corporate malfeasance. "What kind of genius loses a billion dollars in a single year?" she said.
While it's impossible to tell from the partial state tax records that the New York Times published, tax experts told the newspaper that the $916 million loss probably resulted from more than one year's worth of activity.
Trump, unlike presidential candidates of both parties in recent times, has refused to release his tax returns. Clinton has posted nine years of tax returns for her and husband Bill Clinton online. And the campaign has said that together, the Clintons have released returns going back to 1977.
Clinton endorsed passage of a federal law requiring major-party nominees to release their tax returns. In May, Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, filed a bill he called the “Presidential Tax Transparency Act” that would require each major-party nominee to release his or her three most recent tax returns.
Trump on Monday gave no indication he would release his returns. He again argued that his understanding of tax laws makes him best suited to make changes. Neither candidate has made specific proposals to change the tax law to prevent the sort of deductions Trump legally used.
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