Washington: President Donald Trump made more than $150 million and paid $38.4 million in federal taxes in 2005, according to two pages of his federal income tax return for that year that were broadcast by MSNBC.
The White House confirmed those amounts in an emailed statement after the network said it planned to release the returns. The amounts reported on MSNBC suggested Trump paid an effective tax rate of roughly 24% in 2005. Trump has refused to make his tax returns public.
During an appearance on The Rachel Maddow Show veteran tax journalist David Cay Johnston said he got the returns when they “came in the mail over the transom" but doesn’t know who sent them. The tax returns that Maddow displayed on air revealed a stamp that read Client Copy.
The documents show that Trump and his wife, Melania, paid roughly $5.3 million in federal income tax along with more than $31 million in alternative minimum tax.
Trump has proposed to abolish that tax in the official tax reform blueprint he released during the campaign. He also paid self employment taxes that brought his effective tax rate to about 24%.
Trump also reported “negative income" of roughly $103 million that year, Johnston said. The White House statement said Trump had taken “large scale depreciation for construction."
By comparison, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney disclosed an effective tax rate of 13.9% on a 2010 tax return that he released during his 2012 presidential campaign.
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The White House statement called MSNBC “desperate for ratings" for being willing to risk violating the law by releasing Trump’s returns. Federal law makes it a federal felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine for publishing US tax return information.
Maddow said the First Amendment’s guarantee of a free press “gives us a right to publish this return." Johnston said “there is absolutely nothing improper" about journalists publishing the documents if they haven’t solicited them.
Trump has also paid tens of millions of dollars in other taxes such as sales and excise taxes and employment taxes, the White House statement said.
Trump departed from roughly 40 years of tradition for major-party presidential nominees by keeping his returns secret, saying his lawyers advised him not to release returns while he’s under audit. He said last February that he had been under continuous audit for the past 12 years.
His lawyers released an unusual letter in March that said the years 2009 forward remained under review. There’s no law or rule that prevents people under audit from making their returns public.
Trump and his aides have argued that the general public doesn’t care about seeing his tax returns. A Washington Post-ABC News poll released in January showed that 74% of Americans—including 53% of Republicans—think Trump should make his tax records public.
The timing of the leak left some Democrats urging their peers not to be distracted from the Obamacare debate, which has left Republicans fighting among themselves as they seek to quickly approve legislation to unwind the Affordable Care Act.
“Dems should return focus to Trumpcare tomorrow & the millions it will leave uninsured, not get distracted by two pages from ’05 tax return," Brian Fallon, a former national spokesman for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, wrote on Twitter.