Former President Donald Trump’s tax returns released after long battle with Congress

Democrats in Congress Six years of former President Donald Trump’s tax returns released Friday, the culmination of years of trying to understand the finances of a one-time business tycoon who defied decades of political norms, Refusal to voluntarily disclose information As he seeks the White House.

returns, which included the redaction of some personally sensitive information, such as Social Security and bank account numbers, from 2015 to 2020. Their release follows a partisan vote by the House Ways and Means Committee last week to make the returns public. Committee Democrats argued that transparency and the rule of law were at stake, while Republicans countered that the release would set a dangerous precedent in losing privacy protections.

Trump refused to release his returns while campaigning for president and waged a legal battle to keep them secret while he was in the White House.but supreme court ruling Last month, he had to turn them over to the tax and fundraising committee.

The news comes just days before Trump’s fellow Republicans wrested control of the House of Representatives from Democrats, raising the possibility of new revelations about Trump’s finances, which he has not seen since his tenure as an up-and-coming Manhattan real estate developer. , these financial situations have been shrouded in mystery and intrigue throughout the ’80s.Since Trump has launched a campaign for the white house 2024.

They may offer the clearest look yet at his finances during his tenure.

Former President Donald Trump at CPAC Orlando on February 26, 2022

John Raoul/AP

Former President Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida, Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022.

Trump, known for building skyscrapers and hosting reality TV shows before he entered the White House, did provide some limited details about his assets and income on mandatory disclosure forms. He touts his wealth in annual financial statements, which he provides to banks to secure loans, and to financial magazines about his status in the world’s billionaire rankings.

Trump’s longtime accounting firm has since denied the claims, and New York Attorney General Letitia James has filed a lawsuit alleging that Trump and his Trump Organization inflated the value of their assets in a years-long lawsuit. part of the fraud. Trump and his company have denied wrongdoing.

This isn’t the first time Trump’s tax returns have come under scrutiny.

In October 2018, The New York Times published a series of Pulitzer Prize-winning pieces based on leaked tax records showing that Trump received at least $413 million in modern times from real estate held by his father, Much of the money came from what The Times called “tax evasion” in the 1990s.

The second series in 2020 shows Trump paid just $750 in federal income taxes in 2017 and 2018and paid no income tax at all for 10 of the past 15 years because he usually lost more money than he made.

In a report last week, the fundraising committee said the Trump administration may be ignoring post-Watergate demands Request an audit of the president’s tax filings.

The IRS did not begin auditing Trump’s 2016 tax returns until April 3, 2019, when the committee chairman, Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), requested the agency to provide information related to the returns.

By contrast, White House spokesman Andrew Bates said President Joe Biden was audited for the 2020 and 2021 tax years. A spokesman for former President Barack Obama said Obama was audited in each of his eight years in office.

A report by Congress’ nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation raised multiple red flags about Trump’s tax filings, including his carryforward losses, deductions related to conservation and charitable contributions, and the possibility that loans to his children may be taxable gift.

Former President Donald Trump announces his third bid for the presidency during a speech at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, Nov. 15, 2022.

(AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File)

Former President Donald Trump announces his third bid for the presidency during a speech at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, Nov. 15, 2022.

this House of Representatives passes a bill In response, that would require an audit of any president’s income tax returns. Republicans strongly oppose the legislation, fearing that laws requiring audits would invade taxpayer privacy and could lead to audits being weaponized for political gain.

The measure, which was approved largely along party lines, is unlikely to become law anytime soon as a new Republican-led House of Representatives is sworn in in January. Instead, it is seen as a starting point for future efforts to increase oversight of the presidency.

Republicans argue that Democrats will regret the move once Republicans take power next week, warning that the committee’s new Republican chair will be under pressure to seek and release the tax returns of other high-profile figures.

Every presidential and major party candidate since Richard Nixon has voluntarily released at least a summary of their tax information to the public. Bucking the trend both as a candidate and as president, Trump has repeatedly claimed that his taxes are “under audit” and cannot be released.

Attempts by Trump’s lawyers to keep his tax returns private to House committees have been repeatedly rebuffed.A sort of A three-judge panel of the Federal Court of Appeals in August Upholds lower court’s ruling granting committee access.

Trump’s lawyers also tried unsuccessfully to prevent the Manhattan District Attorney’s office from obtaining Trump’s tax records as part of an investigation into his business practices, losing twice in the Supreme Court.

Donald Bender, Trump’s longtime accountant, testified at the Trump Organization’s recent criminal trial in Manhattan that Trump had reported losses on his tax returns every year for a decade, including nearly $700 million in 2009 and 2010. 200 million dollars per year.

Bender, a partner at Mazars USA LLP who spent years preparing Trump’s personal tax returns, said Trump’s reported losses from 2009 to 2018 included many of the businesses he owned through the Trump Organization. Some of the companies reported net operating losses.

trump organization is convicted earlier this month Allegations of tax fraud that helped some executives evade company-paid perks, such as apartments and luxury cars.