Last night, a couple of pages from President Trump’s 2005 federal tax returns were released.
WHY IS THIS A BIG DEAL?
Because Trump was the first presidential candidate in decades not to release his tax returns. There’s no law saying that this has to happen. But it’s been a ritual since the ’70s, so that voters can see if candidates have any financial ties that could compromise their role as prez. During the campaign, Trump said he couldn’t release his taxes because he was being audited by the IRS - but he’d do it ASAP. After he was elected, the White House said ‘actually, we’re not releasing them.’ These ’05 returns were leaked to a journalist, and then confirmed by the White House last night before the journalist appeared on MSNBC to talk about them.
SO...WHAT’S IN THE TAX RETURNS?
In ’05, Trump made more than $150 million in income, wrote off more than $100 million in business losses, and paid $38 million in federal taxes. That’s a tax rate of 25%, thanks to an IRS rule called the “alternative minimum tax” that makes sure wealthy people don’t use deductions and credits to get out of paying taxes.
WHAT ARE PEOPLE SAYING?
The White House says the docs are legit and that publishing them is “illegal.” Supporters say this shows that Trump is a successful businessman who pays a lot in taxes. Critics say Trump needs to release his full tax history so people can see not just how much money he has, but where it’s coming from.
Expect these docs to lead to a renewed push for Trump to release more info. And in other things people are curious about, FBI Director James Comey might tell Congress today whether or not the FBI’s investigating ties between Russia and Trump’s campaign.