New Delhi: Democrats in US Congress released former US President Donald Trump’s federal tax returns for the last six years on Friday that revealed he paid very little in federal income taxes in the first and last year of his presidency and held foreign bank accounts between 2015 and 2020, including a bank account in China between 2015 and 2017.
The disclosure comes after years of a legal fight that ensued starting from the presidential campaign to Congress and the US Supreme Court as Trump tried to resist sharing details about his financial history, in contrast to the practice of transparency followed by all his predecessors in the post-Watergate era.
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The House Ways and Means Committee released the returns after a party-line vote was held last week over making the returns public. The release comes amid a retake of the House by Republicans and Trump announcing another campaign for the White House, according to the news agency Associated Press report.
What Are The Key Takeaways Of The Report?
The documents shed light on individual returns from Trump and his wife, Melania, along with Trump’s business entities from 2015-2020. It shows how Trump used the tax code to lower his tax obligation and reveal details about foreign accounts, charitable contributions, and the performance of some of his high-profile business ventures, which had largely remained shielded from public scrutiny.
Trump paid $641,931 in federal income taxes in 2015 when he began campaigning for the presidency while he paid just $750 in 2016 and 2017, according to the filing. He paid nearly $1 million in 2018, but only $133,445 in 2019 and nothing in 2020, the year he unsuccessfully sought reelection, the AP report added.
Apart from other revelations, the records also mentioned Trump’s foreign holdings.
The former US president has reportedly held bank accounts in China, Ireland, and the United Kingdom from 2015 through 2017, even as he was commander in chief. In 2018, however, Trump only reported an account in the UK.
The returns also shed light on Trump claiming foreign tax credits for taxes he paid on various business ventures across the world, including licensing arrangements for use of his name on development projects and his golf courses in Scotland and Ireland.
In fact, the report revealed that Trump appears to have paid more in foreign taxes than he paid in net US federal income taxes, with income reported in countries including Azerbaijan, China, India, Indonesia, Panama, the Philippines, St. Martin, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.
It also showed that Trump’s charitable donations often showcased only a sliver of his income. In 2020 when the coronavirus ravaged the economy, Trump reported no charitable donations at all. In 2019 and 2018 he reported around $500,000 in donations. In earlier years the numbers were higher — $1.8 million in 2017 and $1.1 million in 2016.
It’s unclear whether the reported sums included Trump’s $400,000 annual presidential salary, which he had said, as a candidate, that he would forgo and which he claimed he donated to various federal departments.
Trump Warns Democrats On The Release
In a statement Friday, Trump warned Democrats and the Supreme Court over the release.
“It’s going to lead to horrible things for so many people,” he said. “The radical, left Democrats have weaponized everything, but remember, that is a dangerous two-way street!”
He said the returns demonstrated “how proudly successful I have been and how I have been able to use depreciation and various other tax deductions” to build his businesses.
The returns detail how Trump used tax law to minimise his liability, including carrying forward massive losses from previous years. Trump said during his 2016 campaign that paying little or no income tax in some years “makes me smart.”