US House Democrats release Trump’s tax returns

The tycoon paid $1.1 million in federal taxes in his first three years as president, and nothing at all in 2020

Donald Trump at an event at Mar-a-Lago on November 18.
Donald Trump at an event at Mar-a-Lago on November 18.Rebecca Blackwell (AP)

Democrats in the US House of Representatives released six years of former president Donald Trump’s tax returns on Friday, the culmination of a yearslong effort to learn more about the finances of a onetime business mogul who broke decades of political precedent when he refused to voluntarily release the information as he sought the White House.

The release took place shortly before the House passes into Republican hands following the midterm elections in November.

The returns, which include redactions of some personal sensitive information such as Social Security and bank account numbers, are from 2015 to 2020. They span nearly 6,000 pages, including more than 2,700 pages of individual returns from Trump and his wife, Melania, and more than 3,000 pages in returns for Trump’s business entities.

Their release follows a party-line vote in the House Ways and Means Committee last week to make the returns public. Committee Democrats argued that transparency and the rule of law were at stake, while Republicans countered that the release would set a dangerous precedent undermining privacy protections.

Trump did not release his returns when he ran for president, a major break in practice, and had waged a legal battle to keep them secret while he was in the White House. But the Supreme Court refused last month to keep the Treasury Department from turning them over to the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee.

“The Democrats should have never done it, the Supreme Court should have never approved it, and it’s going to lead to horrible things for so many people,” Trump said in a statement Friday. “The radical, left Democrats have weaponized everything, but remember, that is a dangerous two-way street!”

He said the returns “once again show how proudly successful I have been and how I have been able to use depreciation and various other tax deductions as an incentive for creating thousands of jobs and magnificent structures and enterprises.”

The returns underscore how Trump used tax law to minimize his liability.

According to the data, Trump paid $1.1 million in federal income taxes in his first three years as president. He paid $641,931 in 2015, the year he began his campaign for president, $750 in 2016 and 2017, nearly $1 million in 2018, $133,445 in 2019 and nothing in 2020.

The release, just days before Trump’s fellow Republicans retake control of the House from the Democrats, provide the most detailed picture to date of Trump’s finances, which have been shrouded in mystery and intrigue since his days as an up-and-coming Manhattan real estate developer in the 1980s.

After emerging successfully from two impeachments to which he was subjected by the House of Representatives, Trump still faces complicated legal battles that could tarnish his political future or, conversely, give wings to his most ardent supporters. The FBI has seized confidential documents that the then-president took from the White House, and two ongoing investigations in New York, one civil and the other criminal, are probing his businesses for alleged tax fraud.

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