Leaked Tax Returns Show Trump Could Have Paid No Federal Tax for Years

The New York Times reported that in 1995 Donald Trump claimed $916 million in losses, which may have let him skip paying federal income taxes for up to 18 years.
2:46 | 10/02/16

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Transcript for Leaked Tax Returns Show Trump Could Have Paid No Federal Tax for Years
And we begin with the race for the white house and a major development involving Donald Trump's taxes. The "New York times" obtaining information that Donald Trump claimed a loss of more than $900 million in 1995. Potentially setting up years without paying income tax. As trump's supporters defend what they say is the candidate's genius, the Clinton campaign is hitting trump hard. With the second presidential debate one week from tonight. Mary Bruce gets us started. Reporter: Tonight, an October surprise for Donald Trump. You don't learn that much from tax returns. That I can tell you. Reporter: Now we're learning Donald Trump could have paid no interest taxes for years. Records sent by an anonymous tipster to the "New York times" show in 1995, trump reported a jaw-dropping $916 million loss, the apparent result of the collapse of his Atlantic City casinos, his airline and the purchase of New York's plaza hotel. A loss so large, he could have legally avoided paying federal income taxes for up to 18 years, a strategy he seemed to brag about at last week's debate. Maybe he doesn't want the American people, all of you watching tonight, that know that he's paid nothing in federal taxes. That makes me smart. Reporter: Tonight, trump's campaign isn't denying the report. Trump himself tweeting, I know our complex tax laws better than anyone that has run for president, and the only one that can fix them. His surrogates, today, launched a vigorous defense. My response is he's a genius. I mean, the reality is. A genius? Absolute genius. There's no one who has shown more genius in their way to maneuver around the tax code and rightfully use the laws to do that. Reporter: But trump hasn't always described it that way. I know people that are making a tremendous amount of money and paying virtually no tax, and I think it's unfair. Reporter: Voters in Florida also seeing it both ways. I'm a working class citizen, and I pay my taxes. I don't understand how he's not paying his. If that's what the law permits him to do, I think it makes sense to do it that way. Reporter: Clinton's campaign is pouncing on the new report, saying it reveals the colossal nature of his past business failures. Nature of his past business "Now that the gig is up, why doesn't he release his returns to show us all how smart he really is?" Bottom line, experts say trump didn't do anything illegal. But the magnitude of the nearly $1 billion loss is raising questions. And without his tax returns, and we don't know how trump accounted for the major writeoff.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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