Trump tax return gives rare look at president's finances

President Trump looks up during a meeting about health care at the White House in Washington March 13, 2017.

President Trump looks up during a meeting about health care at the White House in Washington March 13, 2017.

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Last Updated Mar 15, 2017 8:47 AM EDT

Americans are getting a rare look at President Trump’s finances.

The White House confirmed details of the president’s 2005 federal tax return after its first two pages were leaked Tuesday.

Mr. Trump reported more than $150 million in income in 2005. He paid $38 million in federal income taxes.

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Most of that reportedly came from a tax the president wants to get rid of.

A White House spokesman said the tax forms show the president “was one of the most successful businessmen in the world.”

But the document is raising new questions.

The White House called the release “illegal” but then confirmed the figures in the two leaked pages of Mr. Trump’s 2005 tax return, giving the public a rare glimpse at financial records that he’s previously refused to release, CBS News correspondent Margaret Brennan reports.

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Portions of Mr. Trump’s 2005 tax return were mysteriously leaked to Pulitzer-Prize-winning investigative journalist David Cay Johnston.

“Came in the mail over the transom, and there is absolutely nothing improper about journalists, if you haven’t solicited something, getting it over the transom,” Johnston said on MSNBC.

According to figures confirmed by the White House, Mr. Trump paid $38 million in federal taxes on more than $150 million in income, giving the president an effective tax rate of 25.3 percent.

Shortly afterward, the president’s son Donald Trump Jr. chimed in, tweeting: “Thank you Rachel Maddow for proving to your #Trump hating followers how successful @realDonaldTrump is & that he paid $40mm in taxes!”

Despite a 40-year tradition of presidential nominees releasing their tax returns, Mr. Trump has refused to do so.

The Trump campaign argued that the public didn’t need - or want - to know.

“I will release them as soon as the audit- look, I’ve been under audit almost for 15 years,” Mr. Trump said during a debate with Hillary Clinton in September.

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His refusal became an issue when the New York Times obtained Mr. Trump’s 1995 state tax return, which showed he could have avoided paying income tax for decades.

“That makes me smart,” Mr. Trump said in September.

Now, Mr. Trump plans to eliminate taxes that he says hurt the economy, including the Alternative Minimum Tax.

That particular tax cost Mr. Trump $31 million in 2005, according to Johnston’s reporting.

While these pages show the size of Mr. Trump’s reported income, it doesn’t show the source of that money.

In a statement released Tuesday night, the White House said this report was part of what they called the “dishonest” media’s “agenda” and said it simply proved Mr. Trump paid “no more tax than legally required.”