White House candidate Donald Trump’s allies have said he is a “genius” if a report is true that he paid no federal income taxes for 18 years.
The New York Times said it had received some of Mr Trump’s 1995 tax documents revealing $915m losses that allowed him to legally avoid paying taxes.
The real estate tycoon’s camp refused to confirm or deny the report, but said the filing was “illegally obtained”.
The campaign of his rival, Hillary Clinton, called it a “bombshell”.
But the Republican presidential nominee’s surrogates took to the airwaves on Sunday morning to defend him.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said the New York Times article was a “very good story” because it showcased the “genius” of Mr Trump.
Mr Christie told Fox News Sunday the report would only underline that Mr Trump is best qualified to ease tax policy on working people.
Analysis by Anthony Zurcher, BBC North America reporter
There’s no evidence at this point that Mr Trump did anything improper. Just because it’s legal, however, doesn’t mean this revelation isn’t potentially damaging. First, Mr Trump has staked his campaign on being a savvy businessman, and posting a financial loss so large that his tax accountant’s software couldn’t process the number could undermine that claim.
Then there’s the fact that Mr Trump has, over the years, condemned prominent Americans, including Barack Obama and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos, for not paying enough taxes. Now he looks like a hypocrite.
Hotel impresario Leona Helmsley once famously said that “only little people pay taxes” – and she was excoriated for it. Americans know the wealthy have a multitude of ways to avoid taxes. Knowing is different from seeing the cold, hard evidence, however. At the very least, this latest revelation once again puts Mr Trump on his heels in the final weeks of the presidential campaign.