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Trump’s tax returns, which were released by a House committee, show that he paid very little in taxes.

A House committee released six years of former President Donald Trump’s tax returns on Friday, revealing that he paid relatively little in federal taxes before and during his presidency.

The House Ways and Means Committee voted last week on a party-line vote to make the thousands of pages of federal returns public, but their release was delayed while staffers redacted sensitive personal information like Social Security numbers from the documents. The release on Friday was the culmination of years of legal wrangling and speculation, and it included both personal and business records.

In a statement and on his Truth Social platform on Friday, Trump blasted the release, saying, “the 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 claimed that the returns he fought to keep secret — despite modern precedent requiring presidents to release their tax returns — “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 release of the documents, according to the panel’s top Republican, Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas, was “unprecedented,” and Democrats had unleashed “a dangerous new political weapon that reaches far beyond the former president, overturning decades of privacy protections for average Americans.”

“This is a regrettable stain on the Ways and Means Committee and Congress, and it will make American politics even more divisive and disheartening. “Democrats will come to regret it in the long run,” Brady predicted.

The returns confirm much of what was contained in a 39-page report released last week by the Joint Committee on Taxation, including summaries from Trump’s personal tax forms and business entities, but also provide some new information.

According to the returns, Donald and Melania Trump reported $78 million in gross income from 16 foreign countries in the 2020 tax year, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland, and St. Martin, where Trump has properties. The gross income also included $1.2 million from “other countries,” abbreviated as “OC,” which were not specified.

According to the returns, Trump earned $6.5 million from China during his first year in office. The returns do not reveal the source of the China payments. The payments came as a surprise because Trump has been a vocal critic of Hunter Biden’s $5.8 million in business deals with Chinese interests while his father, now-President Joe Biden, was out of office.

The Trumps reported millions in foreign income and business expenses from at least 22 countries over the six-year period, according to the returns, including money from South Korea, Azerbaijan, Turkey, the Philippines, and Brazil at various points.

The couple paid little in federal taxes during Trump’s presidency and appeared to owe none in 2020, owing to large deductions and expenses that resulted in a $15 million net loss. According to the return, Trump then requested a $5 million refund.

According to the returns, Trump also reported no charitable contributions that year. Trump reported $1.8 million in charitable giving in 2017, and slightly more than $500,000 in charitable donations in 2018 and 2019, according to tax returns.

Trump promised to donate his $400,000 presidential salary to various government agencies while in office. The returns do not indicate whether he attempted to claim any of the donations as charitable deductions. After the second quarter of 2020, when the White House displayed the check Trump wrote, complete with his bank information, there is no record of him donating his salary.

On the 2020 return, which was prepared by a different accounting firm than in previous years, there was also some unexpected income. Trump reported earning $133,173 from an unspecified book, but paid a ghost writer $44,201, leaving him with approximately $89,000 in earnings. Meanwhile, Melania Trump reported earning $3,868 from modelling in 2020, with expenses of $3,868 completely offsetting her earnings.

Trump reported millions of dollars in negative income in 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2020, but only paid $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017.

Trump and his wife, Melania, reported significant losses of more than $16.4 million in 2019, but totaled $4.4 million in income.

The returns also show that between 2015 and 2016, Trump had numerous foreign bank accounts, including in China, the United Kingdom, St. Martin, and Ireland, a well-known tax haven.

The New York Times first reported on the existence of the China account in 2020. After opening an office “to explore the potential for hotel deals in Asia,” Trump Organization lawyer Alan Garten told the paper that the company had “opened an account with a Chinese bank having offices in the United States in order to pay the local taxes.”

His tax returns from 2018 to 2020 only mention having an account in the United Kingdom. “I have many bank accounts, and they’re all listed, and they’re all over the place,” Trump said during a presidential debate in October 2020. “I was a businessman going about my business.”

The committee report also identified several broad issues that it believed the IRS should have investigated. For example, Trump claimed large cash donations to charities, but the IRS did not verify them, according to the report. According to the report, while Trump’s tax returns were large and complicated, the IRS did not appear to have assigned experts to work on them.

Separately, the Ways and Means Committee issued a 29-page report summarising its investigation into an IRS policy requiring audits of returns filed by presidents and vice presidents. The committee discovered that the IRS had largely ignored its own internal procedures, only beginning to investigate Trump’s returns after the House panel inquired about the process. According to the report, only one year of Trump’s returns was officially selected for the mandatory review while he was in office, and that audit of Trump’s 2016 taxes was not completed by the time he left the White House.

The audit of Trump’s 2015 taxes began shortly before the audit of his 2016 taxes in 2019 — the same day the Ways and Means Committee requested information on the mandatory audits. The 2015 audit, as well as audits of Trump’s 2017-19 taxes that began after he left office, were not marked as part of the audit programme, and none had been marked as completed as of last month, according to the committee.

“I’m not thrilled about anyone’s tax returns being made public,” said Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., a member of the House Oversight Committee, on MSNBC Friday, adding that Trump’s case shows “the presidential audit programme was completely broken.”

He said that the Ways and Means investigation showed “the IRS is just not equipped to deal with sophisticated taxpayers like Donald Trump. I believe the internal records show that the IRS did not believe it could properly audit the 400 sub-returns listed on Trump’s main 1040 tax return, and I believe this all points to the need for the IRS to obtain the resources necessary to audit sophisticated taxpayers like Trump.”

The committee obtained Trump’s tax returns in November, after a years-long legal battle to obtain documents that previous presidents have routinely made public since the 1970s.

The case reached the Supreme Court, which rejected Trump’s last-ditch attempt to prevent the release of his tax returns to House Democrats in a brief order issued just before Thanksgiving.

Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns sparked speculation about what he was trying to conceal, whether it was foreign business dealings, a smaller fortune than he’d claimed publicly, or paying less in taxes than the average American.

During the 2016 campaign, Trump claimed that he couldn’t release his tax returns because they were being audited, but that he would make them public once the audit was finished — a promise he broke after taking office.

Over the years, information about his taxes has leaked out.

The New York Times published some of Trump’s 1995 state taxes in October 2016, reporting that he declared a $916 million loss that year. The size of the loss and tax rules governing wealthy filers at the time, according to three tax experts hired by the paper, could have allowed Trump to legally pay no federal income taxes for 18 years.

Following Trump’s election in 2017, reporter David Cay Johnston appeared on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” with what he claimed were two pages of Trump’s 2005 Form 1040.

The documents, which were published on Johnston’s website DCReport.org, revealed that Trump had paid $38 million in federal income tax on a total income of more than $150 million.

The New York Times reported in September 2020 that it had obtained two decades of Trump’s tax returns, which revealed that he had not paid any income taxes in 10 of the previous 15 years, owing to significant losses. According to the paper, he paid only $750 in federal income tax in the year he won the presidency and during his first year in office.

When asked about the report, the then-president said it was “made up” and that he had “paid a lot of money in state” taxes. He later tweeted that he’d “paid many millions of dollars in taxes but was entitled to depreciation and tax credits like everyone else.”

Trump also unsuccessfully fought to keep his tax information out of the hands of New York investigators looking into his business practises. This feud also reached the Supreme Court, which denied Trump’s attempt to prevent a grand jury from obtaining his personal and corporate tax returns in February of last year.

These returns aided Manhattan district attorney’s office prosecutors in building a tax fraud case against Trump’s company, the Trump Organization. This month, the company was convicted of a 15-year tax fraud scheme orchestrated by top executives, according to prosecutors.

During the trial, Trump’s accountant, Donald Bender, testified that the former president suffered $900 million in losses in 2009 and 2010.

The company is set to be sentenced on January 13. Trump, who was not charged in the case, has dismissed the allegations and conviction as a political “witch hunt.”

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