Mark Cuban, billionaire Clinton supporter, recently criticized Donald Trump for taking advantage of the same kind of tax loophole Cuban took advantage of just years later.
The New York Times revealed a $916 million loss in Trump’s 1995 tax records and the fact that he could have used the loss to reduce taxes for the following 18 years. Trump may have “carried forward” his claimed loss of $916 million in income taxes to reduce his future tax burden.
The news comes as Trump has refused to release his tax returns to the public.
Cuban, in a CNN interview, slammed Trump for exploiting the tax code, called paying taxes “patriotic,” and bragged about his own refusal to take advantage of tax breaks.
It seems that Cuban’s business possibly did something similar to what Trump is accused of—claiming millions in losses to offset future taxation.
In 1998, Broadcast.com, a company that Cuban was both President and Chairman of the Board of at the time, claimed loss carryforwards of more than $10 million for 1997.
From the Form S-1 filed by BROADCAST.COM INC.:
“5. INCOME TAXES
As of December 31, 1997, the Company has available net operating loss carryforwards totaling approximately $10,269,000 which expire beginning in 2011. Utilization of net operating loss carryforwards may be limited by ownership changes which may have occurred or could occur in the future.”
The law at the time allowed loss carryforwards, like the $10 million from Broadcast.com, to count against future taxation for up to 15 years, meaning Cuban could have claimed losses to reduce future taxation for several years, effectively the same thing Trump is being accused of.
Broadcast.com was later sold to Yahoo! for 5.6 billion dollars in 1999.
There is nothing illegal about what either Trump or Cuban may have done. Some Trump supporters have not denied, but rather accepted and celebrated Trump’s tax break, such as Rudy Giuliani, who called Trump a “genius” for avoiding taxes.
Ironically, Cuban spoke out against the tradition of candidates being expected to release their tax returns in February, saying, “My taxes are none of your business.”