Democrats in Congress released thousands of pages of former President Donald Trump’s tax returns on Friday, providing the most detailed look at information kept private, dating back six years to his finances and his tenure in the White House.
The documents include the former president’s business entities from 2015 to 2020, as well as personal returns for Trump and his wife, Melania. The returns reveal that Trump took advantage of the tax code to reduce his tax liabilities and reveal details of his accounts. .abroad, charitable contributions, and the exposure of some of his best-known companies that had largely remained outside public scrutiny.
The release of the documents sparked a legal battle that spanned years from the presidential campaign to Congress to the Supreme Court, as Trump sought to release details of his financial history, contrary to the transparency practice of his Watergate-era predecessors. Attempts were repeatedly rejected. , The release of the documents comes days before Republicans wrested control of the House of Representatives and weeks after Trump announced another campaign for the White House.
The documents show that Trump limited his tax liability by offsetting his income with corporate losses as well as millions of dollars in business expenses, property depreciation and other deductions.
Although Trump paid $641,931 in federal income taxes in 2015, the year he launched his campaign for president, he paid just $750 in 2016 and 2017, according to a previous report by the Joint Commission on Taxation, a nonpartisan legislature. According to a report released this week. He contributed nearly $1 million in 2018 and only $133,445 in 2019 and nothing in 2020, the year he unsuccessfully sought re-election.
The documents also detail Trump’s overseas assets.
According to the statements, Trump reported having bank accounts in China, Ireland and Great Britain from 2015 and 2017, even when he was Supreme Commander. However, as of 2018, it reported only one account in Great Britain. The statements also reveal that Trump used foreign tax credits for taxes paid from his various businesses around the world, such as his name-licensing deals on real estate projects and his golf courses in Scotland and Ireland.
Over the years, Trump reportedly paid more in foreign taxes than in net federal income taxes in the United States, due to his income in various countries, including Azerbaijan, China, India, Indonesia, Panama, the Philippines, St. Martin, Turkey, and Turkey. Did. and Emirates. United Arab.
Documents show that Trump’s charitable donations accounted for only a fraction of his income. In 2020, the year the coronavirus devastated the economy, Trump did not report any charitable donations. In 2019 and 2018, he reported writing checks for nearly $500,000 in donations. In previous years, the amount was higher: $1.8 million in 2017 and $1.1 million in 2016.
It is unknown whether the reported amounts include a presidential salary of $400,000 per year, which as a candidate he said he would not collect and claimed to have donated to various federal agencies.
Jeff Hoopes, an accounting professor at the University of North Carolina’s Kennan-Flagler School of Business, described Trump’s taxes as a “big, complicated statement” with “hundreds of entities scattered around the world.”
“It’s hard to know whether someone is really bad at trading or really good at tax planning, because they both look like the same thing,” he said.
Daniel Shaviro, a tax professor at New York University, cited huge financial losses for many of Trump’s businesses — often despite healthy sales — raising suspicions among auditors. “Something’s wrong there.”
Shaviro also pointed to examples of questionable or sloppy math in even smaller businesses, such as an aviation firm called “DT Endeavor I LLC,” which reported sales and expenses of $160,144 in 2020. He said that such figures for a single amount are unusual. However, in the statement he also reported a loss of $18,923.
“The statement doesn’t say ‘Guess what: I’m committing fraud,'” Shaviro said, “but there are red flags.”
In a statement released on Friday, Trump lashed out at Democrats and the Supreme Court over the release of the documents.
“It’s going to lead to terrible things for a lot of people,” he said. “Radical Democrats and Leftists weaponize everything, but remember, it’s a dangerous two-way street.”
He said the statements showed “how proudly I have been successful and how I have been able to use depreciation and various other tax deductions to build my businesses”.
The statements were released by the House Ways and Means Committee.
Associated Press writers Gary Fields, Paul Wiseman and Farnoush Amiri in Washington; Meg Kinnard in Columbia, South Carolina and Nicolas Riccardi in Denver contributed to this report