On Friday, a House committee released former President Donald Trump’s six-year tax returns, which showed he paid relatively little in federal taxes in the years prior to and during his presidency.
The House Ways and Means Committee had voted to release the thousands of pages of federal statements in a partisan vote last week, but their release was delayed while staff redacted sensitive personal information such as Social Security numbers. of the documents. friday releasethe culmination of years of legal disputes and speculation, it included both personal and business records.
On Friday, Trump criticized the launch in a statement and on his Truth Social platform, saying «Democrats should never have done it, the Supreme Court should never have approved it, and it’s going to lead to horrible things for so many people.»
He also argued that the returns he fought to keep hidden, despite the modern precedent of presidents making their returns public, «show how proudly successful I have been and how I have been able to use depreciation and other tax deductions as an incentive to create thousands of jobs and magnificent structures and companies.”
The panel’s top Republican, Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas, called the release of the documents «unprecedented» and said Democrats had unleashed «a dangerous new political weapon that reaches far beyond the former president, undoing decades of protection of privacy for the average American. ”
“This is a regrettable stain on the Ways and Means Committee and Congress, and it will make American politics even more divisive and discouraging. In the long run, the Democrats will regret it,” Brady said.
The results confirm much of what was contained in a 39 page report from the Joint Committee on Taxation released last week, including summaries of Trump’s personal and business entity tax forms, but also some new information as well.
The statements show that in fiscal year 2020, Donald and Melania Trump reported $78 million in gross receipts from 16 foreign countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland and St. Martin, where Trump has property. Gross income also included a reported $1.2 million from «other countries,» abbreviated as «OC,» which was not specified.
In 2017, Trump’s first year in office, he also made $6.5 million in China, the results show. The source of the payments from China is unclear from the statements. The payments came as a surprise because Trump is an outspoken critic of the $5.8 million Hunter Biden earned in business deals with Chinese interests while his father, now-President Joe Biden, was out of office.
In all, the Trumps reported millions in foreign income and business spending from companies in at least 22 countries over the six-year period, the results show, including in various money spots from South Korea, Azerbaijan, Turkey, the Philippines and Brazil.
The couple paid little in federal taxes during the Trump presidency and appeared to owe nothing in 2020 after reporting large deductions and expenses that resulted in a net loss of $15 million. Trump later claimed a $5 million refund, according to the statement.
Trump also reported zero charitable donations that year, the results show. That was an outlier for Trump during his time in office: He reported $1.8 million in charitable giving in 2017 and just over $500,000 in charitable giving in 2018 and 2019, the results show.
Trump pledged to donate his $400,000 presidential salary while in office, money he gave to various government agencies. It’s not clear from the statements if he intended to claim any of those donations as charitable deductions. There is no record that he donated his salary after the second quarter of 2020, when the White House mistakenly displayed the check Trump wrote, complete with his banking information.
There was also some surprising income in the 2020 return, which was prepared by a different accounting firm than in previous years. Trump reported making $133,173 from an unspecified book, but paid a ghostwriter $44,201, leaving him about $89,000 in income. Meanwhile, Melania Trump reported earning $3,868 as a model in 2020, with expenses of $3,868 fully offsetting the income.
Trump reported millions in negative income in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2020, and paid just $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017.
In 2019, Trump and his wife, Melania, reported significant losses of more than $16.4 million, but reported a total income of $4.4 million.
The results also show that Trump had numerous offshore bank accounts between 2015 and 2016, including in China, the United Kingdom, Saint Martin, and Irelandwhich is a known tax haven.
The existence of the China account was first reported by The New York Times in 2020. Trump Organization lawyer Alan Garten told the newspaper that the company had “opened an account with a Chinese bank that has offices in the United States to pay local taxes” after opening an office “to explore the potential of hotel deals in Asia”.
His returns from 2018 to 2020 only have one UK account «I have a lot of bank accounts and they’re all listed and they’re all over the place.» trump said during an October 2020 presidential debate. “I was a businessman doing business.”
The committee’s report also listed several general issues that it believed the IRS should have investigated. For example, Trump claimed large cash donations to charities, but the report says the IRS did not verify them. The report also said that while Trump’s tax returns were large and complicated, the IRS does not appear to have assigned experts to work on them.
The Ways and Means Committee separately released a 29-page report summarizing its investigation into an IRS policy requiring audits of returns filed by presidents and vice presidents. The committee found that the IRS had largely failed to follow its own internal requirements, and began examining Trump’s returns only after the House panel inquired into the process. Only a year of Trump’s returns was officially selected for mandatory review while he was in office, and that audit of Trump’s 2016 taxes was not complete when he left the White House, according to the report.
An audit of Trump’s 2015 taxes was launched shortly before the 2016 audit in 2019, the same day the Ways and Means committee requested information on the mandatory audits. Neither the 2015 audit nor the 2017-19 audits of Trump’s taxes that began after he left office were marked as part of the audit program and, as of last month, neither had been marked complete, the committee said. .
Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., a member of the House Oversight Committee, told MSNBC on Friday, «I’m not excited about anyone’s tax returns being made public,» but said the Trump case shows that «the presidential audit program was completely broken.» .»
He said the Ways and Means investigation showed that «the IRS is simply not equipped to deal with sophisticated taxpayers like Donald Trump. I think internal records have revealed that the IRS did not believe it could adequately audit the 400 secondary returns that were listed in Trump’s 1040 master tax return, so I think it all speaks to the need for the IRS to get the resources it needs to audit sophisticated taxpayers like Trump.»
The committee obtained Trump’s tax returns in November, following a yearlong court fight over documents that other presidents have routinely released since the 1970s.
The dispute ended in the Supreme Court, which rejected Trump’s last-minute request to block the release of his tax records to House Democrats in a brief order issued just before Thanksgiving.
Trump’s refusal to release his statements sparked a wave of suspicions about what he might be trying to hide: foreign business dealings, a smaller fortune than he had publicly claimed, or paying less in taxes than the average American.
During the 2016 campaign, Trump maintained that his statements could not be released because they were under audit and that he would make them public when they were ready, a promise he backed away from after taking office.
Information about his taxes has leaked over the years.
In October 2016, The New York Times published some of Trump’s statements. 1995 state taxes and reported that it had declared a loss of $916 million that year. Three tax experts hired by the newspaper said the size of the loss and the tax rules governing wealthy taxpayers at the time could have allowed Trump to legally not pay federal income taxes for 18 years.
After Trump took office in 2017, reporter David Cay Johnston went on MSNBC’s «The Rachel Maddow Show» with what he said were two pages from Trump’s 2005 Form 1040.
The documents, which were posted on Johnston’s site DCReport.orgit showed that Trump had paid $38 million in federal income taxes on more than $150 million in income.
In September 2020, the Times reported that it had obtained two decades of Trump tax information, which showed that it had not paid any income tax in 10 of the previous 15 years, mainly because it reported significant losses. In the year he won the presidency and during his first year in office, he paid just $750 in federal income taxes, according to the newspaper.
When asked about the report at the time, the then-president said the story was «made up» and that he «paid a lot of money in state taxes.» He later tweeted that he had «paid many millions of dollars in taxes but was entitled, like everyone else, to depreciation and tax credits.»
Trump also fought unsuccessfully to keep his tax information out of the hands of investigators in New York who were looking into his business practices. That standoff also went all the way to the Supreme Court, which denied Trump’s attempt to block a grand jury from obtaining Trump’s personal and corporate tax returns in February of last year.
Those statements helped prosecutors from the Manhattan district attorney’s office build a tax fraud case against Trump’s company, the Trump Organization. The company was convicted this month of running a 15-year tax fraud scheme that prosecutors say was orchestrated by top company executives.
During the trial, Trump’s accountant, Donald Bender, testified that the former president had losses totaling $900 million in 2009 and 2010.
The company is scheduled to be sentenced on January 13. Trump, who was not charged in the case, has dismissed the allegations and conviction as part of a politically motivated «witch hunt.»