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Trump's Tax Return Lean on Details

Image: Trump's Tax Return Lean on Details

By    |   Tuesday, 14 Mar 2017 10:40 PM

Two pages of President Donald Trump's 2005 federal tax returns released to journalist David Cay Johnston on Tuesday don't show much about where Trump got his income.

The 1040 form does show Trump paid $38 million in federal taxes on $150 million of income that year.

Johnston revealed the returns on MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show" amid much hype by the host, who spent the first 20 minutes of her show in an emotional explanation why the public needs to see the returns of its presidents and theories as to why Trump may be refusing to release them.

After finally showing the returns following a commercial break, Maddow admitted the returns showed little detail since they don't include multiple pages of schedules and appendices typical of someone with multiple private businesses.

The White House confirmed the validity of the return and released the two pages to other news organizations that published and discussed them before Maddow finally put them on the air.

Johnston said it is possible Trump released the returns himself — or had someone else do so under his direction. He said the return came to him through the mail.

"Donald has a long history of leaking material about himself when he thinks it's in his interests," Johnston said.

The returns fit in with what his known about Trump from other public records, Johnston said.

For example, he said, the dividends Trump receives are not primarily "qualified dividends" from large companies, but from privately held enterprises.

"They show almost no tax-exempt interest, about $49,000," Johnston said. "That would imply at the time maybe $900,000 of municipal bonds. Not much — lots of college professors out there my age who have $900,000 in municipal bonds."

Johnston noted that if not for the alternative minimum tax — required to be filed by wealthier tax filers — Trump would actually have paid taxes in 2005 at a lower rate than people who make less than $33,000 a year. Trump has said he wants to abolish the alternative minimum tax.

"Think about that, $153 million almost of income, he would have paid a little over $5 million," he said.

Johnston also said that Trump did not actually pay $38 million in income taxes since some of that figure includes self-employment tax.

That means Trump paid 24 percent in taxes.

"You know who pays 24 percent in this country? Married couples with two incomes like my wife and I who make around $400,000 a year," Johnston said. "Donald Trump and his wife that year made $418,000 a day."

The two pages of Trump's 1040 also don't show the sources of his income, "whether or not he's beholden to somebody," Johnston said. "We also need to know whether all the things he said about himself and his wealth and his charitableness and all those things are true but we also need to know if he is going to take actions as president in terms of tax policy that are going to benefit him."

Trump has repeatedly fought off calls for him to release his tax returns, saying he is under IRS audit. Presidents since the 1970s have routinely released their taxes annually.

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Two pages of President Donald Trump's 2005 federal tax returns released to journalist David Cay Johnston on Tuesday don't show much about where Trump got his income.
trump, tax, return, lean, details
Tuesday, 14 Mar 2017 10:40 PM
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