During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump’s tax returns, or lack thereof, were under constant fire. His opponents and even some allies wanted to know where his income came from or if he’d avoided paying taxes (which makes him “smart”). Throughout the campaign, then-candidate Trump declared he’d release his tax returns once an ongoing audit was complete, but these promises turned out to be false; Trump won the election, the audit seems like it will never end, and still — no tax returns. This meant that Trump became the first president in over 40 years to not release his returns, which, while embroiled in an alleged Russian ties scandal, meant citizens had no clue where their elected official’s money came from.
Now, it turns out Rachel Maddow has a scoop on Trump’s 2005 1040 form. It shows Trump paid $38 million in returns in 2005, and shows Trump and his wife paying $5.3 million in federal income tax. $31 million of the taxes were paid in the alternative minimum tax.
The White House, learning of Maddow’s tease on Twitter with the rest of the world, worked to get ahead of MSNBC and made the following statement, basically confirming some details from the documents:
“You know you are desperate for ratings when you are willing to violate the law to push a story about two pages of tax returns from over a decade ago… Mr. Trump paid $38 million dollars even after taking into account large scale depreciation for construction, on an income of more than $150 million dollars, as well as paying tens of millions of dollars in other taxes such as sales and excise taxes and employment taxes and this illegally published return proves just that.”
Whether these documents are stolen is up for debate, and that’s a hefty accusation. But, what’s noteworthy is the fact that these would be Trump’s first publicly-released tax returns in nearly 40 years, and now we have bottom line numbers that are likely quite average with most millionaires. Trump roughly paid 25.3% of his total income in tax dollars.
The returns also show Trump was still benefiting from his $916 million loss he claimed in 1995 as a tax credit. And while these won’t show where his money has come from, they may paint a picture of a man with a bloated self-worth who claims to be worth $10 billion when he’s possibly quite far from that number.
Here’s the part of the clip where Maddow talks with journalist David Cay Johnston, who received these documents, about what this tax information could ultimately mean.