Donald Trump. (Photo: Reuters)
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Leaked 2005 Tax Returns the Only Thing We Know About Trump’s Taxes

Responding to a leak of Donald Trump’s tax returns from 2005, the White House said the President paid $38 million in taxes on more than $150 million in income in 2005.

The records were obtained by Pulitzer prize-winning journalist David Cay Johnston, who said he received the documented unsolicited, in his mailbox. Unlike all other Presidents before him, Donald Trump refused to disclose his tax returns citing that they are under audit by the Internal Revenue Service. Experts say an IRS audit does not bar someone from releasing the documents.

Ignoring the several bankruptcies that the Trump empire faces, the official statement from the White House said that the US president was one of the most successful businessmen in the world.

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. Before being elected President, Mr Trump was one of the most successful businessmen in the world with a responsibility to his company, his family and his employees to pay no more tax than legally required. That being said, 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. 
White House

“Despite this substantial income figure and tax paid, it is totally illegal to steal and publish tax returns,” the statement read. Then it went onto accusing the media of being dishonest “while the President will focus on his work, which includes tax reform that will benefit all Americans.”

David Cay Johnston believes that it’s possible that Donald Trump leaked these documents himself.

It’s entirely possible that Donald Trump has leaked it himself. Donald has a long history of leaking documents about himself when he thinks it serves his self-interest. It could be leaked by someone under his direction. With Donald you can never tell, he makes his own reality.

Based on the documents obtained by Johnston, Trump paid USD 36.5 million in taxes on USD 153 million in income, for an effective tax rate of around 24 percent. That percentage is higher than the roughly 10 percent the average American pays each year but below the 27.4 percent that taxpayers earning 1 million dollars a year pay on average, according to data from the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation.

The returns, however, do not indicate whether he paid taxes in other years or how much he might have paid. The Washington Post reported last year that Trump paid no federal income taxes for at least two years in the late 1970s.

A New York Times report in October said Trump, a New York real estate developer, declared a $916 million loss on his 1995 income tax returns. The newspaper said the large tax deduction could have allowed him to avoid paying federal income taxes for up to 18 years.

The Alternative Minimum Tax was established in 1969 to prevent the wealthy from using deductions and clever accounting to largely avoid paying taxes. But in his campaign tax proposal, Trump had promised to repeal the AMT.

(With inputs from NBC News, Reuters, AP)