The first two pages of Donald Trump’s form 1040 tax return from 2005 were obtained by journalist David Cay Johnston and revealed by MSNBC on a segment of The Rachel Maddow Show Tuesday night. You can read them here.
- Trump and his wife Melania paid about $38 million in federal taxes that year — about a quarter of their $150 million income.
- The Trumps paid relatively little ordinary income tax — $5.3 million — but they did pay $31 million in the alternative minimum tax, which kicks in when people with high incomes use a lot of tax deductions.
- The Trumps also wrote off about $103 million in business losses.
Johnston, a veteran tax policy journalist who’s authored a book on Trump, said on MSNBC that the tax return pages “came in the mail” to him. (The return is marked “Client Copy,” suggesting the leak came from returns prepared for Trump’s use, not from the IRS.)
In a statement released shortly before the segment aired, the White House appeared to confirm the authenticity of the document, saying Trump paid $38 million on income of more than $150 million that year. They also accused MSNBC of being “desperate for ratings” and “willing to violate the law.”
WH responds to MSNBC report on Trump tax returns: "you know you are desperate when you willing to violate the law..." pic.twitter.com/DCedFdxWCc— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) March 15, 2017
Trump famously refused to release his tax returns during the campaign, repeatedly claiming he was happy to do so but simply couldn’t because he was undergoing an audit.
That excuse didn’t make any sense (nothing about the audit prevents him releasing his returns), and indeed, after Trump won the election, his adviser Kellyanne Conway was more blunt: “He's not going to release his tax returns. We litigated this all through the election. People didn't care."