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Trump’s tax returns were released. Here’s how much he paid

Most presidents and some vice presidents choose to release their tax returns. It’s been a common practice since the ’70s

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Former President Donald Trump speaks to guests at Mar-a-lago on Election Day, Nov. 8, 2022, in Palm Beach, Fla.

Former President Donald Trump speaks to guests at Mar-a-lago on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Palm Beach, Fla. Details of Trump’s tax returns have been released.

Andrew Harnik, Associated Press

The Democrat-controlled House released former President Donald Trump’s tax returns to the public on Friday, days before the control of the chamber shifts to Republicans.

According to The Associated Press, the documents, with redactions of sensitive personal information, span 6,000 pages, starting from 2015 until 2020, and include returns of former first lady Melania Trump as well as of Trump’s businesses.

The House Ways and Means Committee voted for this release last week, even though the Supreme Court had blocked the Treasury Department from providing the returns to the committee, per the report.

Tax Notes, a tax publisher, has a collection of tax returns from presidents, as well as some vice presidents, who chose to release their tax returns — a common practice since the ’70s. Its database has 23 of President Joe Biden’s returns. With that said, this isn’t a legally required practice.

How much did Donald Trump pay in taxes?

In 2015, when Trump began campaigning for president, he paid $641,931 in federal income taxes. “He went on to pay $750 in 2016 and 2017, nearly $1 million in 2018, $133,445 in 2019 and nothing in 2020,” per AP.

He did this by claiming net operating losses and carrying them forward to the next year, per CNN. For example, in his 2015 return, he extended the $105 million in losses from the previous year.

Trump did not release his returns throughout his presidency. The publicly available records show that “Trump and his wife Melania Trump claimed large deductions and losses and paid little or no income tax in several of those years,” according to Reuters.

What do Donald Trump’s tax returns show?

Ordinarily, the Internal Revenue Service audits tax returns filed by presidents and vice presidents. But the House committee’s investigation found only 2016’s tax return was subject to a mandatory examination, which took place in 2019, while the tax return years from 2017 until 2020 were not.

“The Committee expected that these mandatory audits were being conducted promptly and in accordance with IRS policies. However, our review found that under the prior Administration the program was dormant. We know now, the first mandatory audit was opened two years into his presidency,” Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., said in a press release

Meanwhile, Steve Rosenthal, an analyst with the Tax Policy Center who has testified to Congress about Trump’s tax returns, told The Hill that it isn’t surprising that some of the mandatory examinations remain incomplete.

“The IRS takes years to finish complicated audits,” he said.

Per The New York Times, one internal IRS memo stated: “With over 400 flow-thru returns reported on the Form 1040, it is not possible to obtain the resources available to examine all potential issues.” 

The Hill noted that the 2019 audit began the same day that Neal wrote the IRS a letter to request Trump’s tax returns.

What did Donald Trump say to his tax returns being released?

The former president’s campaign sent a statement to CBS News regarding the tax returns that were issued.

“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,” the former president said, per the report.

“The great USA divide will now grow far worse. The radical, left Democrats have weaponized everything, but remember, that is a dangerous two-way street!” he said. “The ‘Trump’ tax 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.”