President Donald Trump was the first person in recent history to run for President to refuse to release his tax returns, claiming to be “under audit” and, after winning the election, arguing that he’d won and only “reporters” cared about his tax returns; they were “the only ones who care.” The IRS refuted Trump’s excuse, saying it was possible to both release tax returns and undergo an audit.
“I won, I became president,” he said, addressing media at his January press conference, his first since the summer of 2016. “I don’t think they care at all.” In the campaign, opponent Hillary Clinton released her returns through 1977.
Tonight, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow broadcasted what she says is Trump’s 1040 return from 2005, the first ever acquired by a media source since Trump became a candidate for president. That 1040, according to the IRS, is used to report an individual’s gross income. They say they acquired the release through investigative reporter David Cay Johnston, and Maddow said that even acquiring the return is an important story.
This 1040 shows that Trump and Melania paid an income tax rate of just 4% in 2005, a sum of $5.1 million in federal income tax.
They also paid $31 million in “alternative minimum” tax, an additional income tax layered on by the federal government to require certain taxpayers to calculate tax liability twice. It was enacted to keep the very rich from avoiding tax liability. Together, they bring his effective rate close to 25%.
Also in Trump’s 2005 tax return is the continued deduction of the loss of $916 million he reported in 1995, in a copy of his tax returns first published by the New York Times. Under 1995 law, Trump converted that $916 million loss into a credit he could apply against income until it was exhausted.
The White House responded before the report aired:
Some questioned whether Trump himself released the return, pointing out that the return had “Client Copy” stamped on the return. That stamp, if genuine, would have come from an accountant or other tax preparation professional.