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Trump’s tax return leaked
March 15th, 2017 at 7:00 pm
Trump’s tax return leaked

International desk – US President Donald Trump has paid $38m in tax on more than $150m income in 2005, a leaked partial tax return shows.

According to BBC report the two pages of tax return, revealed by US TV network MSNBC, also showed he wrote off $103m in losses. It gave no details on income sources.

The White House said publishing the tax return was against the law.

Trump refused to release his tax returns during the election campaign, breaking with a long-held tradition.

On Tuesday evening, MSNBC announced that it had a copy of one of Trump’s tax returns, dating from 2005. The details were revealed on a show later that night, anchored by journalist Rachel Maddow.

MSNBC said they received the document from financial journalist and Trump biographer David Cay Johnston, who received it in the post from an anonymous source.

On the programme Cay Johnston confirmed he had no further details on the source, but speculated that the leak could have come from Trump himself.

Although leaking federal tax returns is a criminal offence, Maddow argued that the network was exercising its right to freedom of speech under the First Amendment to the US Constitution to publish information in the public interest.

The release showed Trump paid the Internal Revenue Service $38m in 2005, an effective tax rate of 24%.

This is higher than the average American citizen would pay but below the 27.4% averaged by higher-earning taxpayers.

The bill comprises $5.3m in federal income tax and an extra $31m in what is called alternative minimum tax (AMT).

AMT was set up nearly 50 years ago to stop the wealthiest people from using deductions and loopholes to avoid paying taxes. Trump has called for it to be abolished.

President Trump’s critics have wanted to know more about his income tax payments, but they also want more transparency on his business ties, particularly on any links to Russia. No substantial business links have been proven.

The two-page form only gives basic figures and offers no insight into the sources of his earnings. It also does not give details on any charity donations, said BBC.

Last October, the New York Times revealed parts of Trump’s 1995 tax returns that showed losses of $916m. The newspaper said this could have affected his returns for up to 18 subsequent years, allowing him to legally avoid paying federal income taxes.

The forms disclosed on Tuesday do not say whether the £103m write-down that Trump recorded in 2005 is connected to the losses in 1995.

Every US presidential candidate since 1976 has released their tax returns although there is no legal requirement to do so. Throughout his presidential campaign and since his election, Trump has refused to release his returns.

He has said he is under audit by tax authorities and that his lawyers advise against releasing the documents.

The US Inland Revenue Service has a policy not to confirm whether or not individuals are under audit, but says it does not stop anyone from releasing their own returns.

Trump’s critics have created numerous petitions calling for their full release, including one that gathered over a million signatures.

During last year’s election campaign, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton accused Trump in a head-to-head debate of paying no federal income tax.

He responded: “That makes me smart.”

In the past, Trump is alleged to have called the US media and used a pseudonym to give them favourable stories about his business dealings.

Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jnr, said on Twitter that he was thankful for the release as they showed his father was paying taxes.

However, in a statement issued before the broadcast, the White House was less enthusiastic, saying: “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.”

It has also said Trump had a responsibility to pay no more tax than was legally required.

Correspondents say that, despite the lack of detail, the leak is significant because so little is known about President Trump’s tax affairs and the new information could increase pressure on him to release more, according to BBC.