Donald Trump's leaked tax records show $916m loss

US Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump (Getty)
US Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump (Getty)

Leaked documents suggest US Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump may not have paid federal income tax for 18 years.

Mr Trump has broken tradition by refusing to release his tax returns, but documents given to The New York Times have changed that.

The documents are the first pages of Mr Trump's 1995 New York, New Jersey and Connecticut state tax returns and show an alarming loss of US$916 million.

That amount would have allowed Mr Trump to spread the loss across several years and cancel out as much as $50 million a year in income over 18 years, according the tax rules.

The Times claims there is no indication Mr Trump did anything wrong - a number of his business failed in the early 1990s, and US federal tax laws state wealthy individuals can take net operating losses from owned partnerships to cancel out personal income.

But politically, it is not a good look for Mr Trump, who has been living lavishly while paying $0 in federal income tax for many years.

In May, the Washington Post reported documents filed to obtain a casino licence in New Jersey showed the billionaire had paid no taxes for two years in the late 1970s. Other documents indicate the same for a couple of years in the early 1990s.

While not denying the allegations, the Trump campaign responded angrily, arguing the documents were illegally obtained.

"[Mr Trump] has paid hundreds of millions of dollars in property taxes, sales and excise taxes, real estate taxes, city taxes, state taxes, employee taxes and very taxes, along with very substantial charitable contributions," the statement read.

But by not denying the authenticity of the documents it was an implicit admission Mr Trump had gone stretches at a time paying little to nothing in federal income tax.