Responding to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s statements, businessman Warren Buffett denied the claim that Buffett had taken a “massive deduction” on his tax returns. Buffett also made points referring to several other of Trump’s recent talking points regarding taxes, tax audits, tax deductions, and the “smarts” of benefiting economically from a maximally selfish business-wise application of the country’s laws.
Buffett’s full statement:
“Answering a question last night about his $916 million income tax loss carryforward in 1995, Donald Trump stated that ‘Warren Buffett took a massive deduction.’ Mr. Trump says he knows more about taxes than any other human. He has not seen my income tax returns. But I am happy to give him the facts.
“My 2015 return shows adjusted gross income of $11,563,931. My deductions totaled $5,477,694, of which allowable charitable contributions were $3,469,179. All but $36,037 of the remainder was for state income taxes.
“The total charitable contributions I made during the year were $2,858,057,970, of which more than $2.85 billion were not taken as deductions and never will be. Tax law properly limits charitable deductions.
“My federal income tax for the year was $1,845,557. Returns for previous years are of a similar nature in respect to contributions, deductions and tax rates.
“I have paid federal income tax every year since 1944, when I was 13. (Though, being a slow starter, I owed only $7 in tax that year.) I have copies of all 72 of my returns and none uses a carryforward.
“Finally, I have been audited by the IRS multiple times and am currently being audited. I have no problem in releasing my tax information while under audit. Neither would Mr. Trump—at least he would have no legal problem.”