In 2005, Donald Trump paid $38 million -- or about 25.3 percent -- in taxes on income of over $150 million, the White House said in a statement Tuesday night. In 2005, the tax rate for top earners was 35 percent. Currently, the top rate is 39.6 percent. In addition, the White House said that Mr. Trump paid “tens of millions of dollars in other taxes such as sales and excise taxes and employment taxes.”
The White House released the statement in advance of MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show,” which said that it obtained a portion of his 2005 tax return via Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Cay Johnston. Anticipating the public release of the information from Mr. Trump’s return, the White House also said in its statement, “You know you are desperate for ratings when you are willing to violate the law to push a story about two pages of tax returns from over a decade ago” and complained that “it is totally illegal to steal and publish tax returns.” (It is not illegal).
Wednesday morning, Mr. Trump took to Twitter to offer his thoughts:
Maddow tweeted Tuesday night that she has his 1040 form from 2005, which is the standard federal income tax form used to report an individual’s gross income.
According to the 1040 form, Mr. Trump paid about $38 million in taxes, Maddow said, and took what she referred to as “a $103 million write-down.” He also made more than $150 million, Maddow said.
Maddow did not elaborate on the $103 million loss listed on the 1040 form, though an earlier report by the New York Times may shed some light on this. In October, the Times reported that Mr. Trump declared a $916 million loss in 1995. It was, the Times noted, “a tax deduction so substantial it could have allowed him to legally avoid paying any federal income taxes for up to 18 years.”
This is not the first reporting on Mr. Trump’s 2005 taxes, either. Almost exactly a year ago, The Wall Street Journal’s Richard Rubin found public records that indicated that Mr. Trump was able to deduct $39 million from his 2005 federal income taxes by promising not to build houses on a New Jersey golf course he owns.
Mr. Trump has, to date, not released any of his tax returns. He has said he doesn’t want to release his tax returns because he is under IRS audit, although there is no law prohibiting him from releasing his own returns -- even if he is being audited.
After Maddow’s show, social media mostly slammed the MSNBC host for the big rollout of the documents, which had been heavily promoted, though their revelations may not have had too much shock value for the audience. Part of that may be due to the fact that Maddow had only the basic form, and not the attachments and statements that would have more detailed information about Mr. Trump’s holdings. Here was a little of the Twitter reaction: