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After a hard-fought legal battle, the House Ways and Means Committee obtained permission to review and publish Trump’s tax returns from 2015-2020. The returns are set to be made available to the public on Friday.
Transparency for the Public
Trump has been fighting the release of his tax returns since he was President. Historically, the IRS is supposed to conduct mandatory audits on all sitting presidents, but Trump broke from tradition.
According to reports, the IRS only began auditing one of Trump’s tax returns while he was in office.
The committee requested his returns in both 2019 and 2021, but their request was denied. Trump claimed he would only release his returns if the federal court mandated that six years’ worth of his returns be handed over to the committee.
Although the Joint Committee on Taxation already released preliminary reports on Trump’s filings earlier this month, releasing his returns to the public will allow Americans to see his income, deductions, and any taxes paid while he was in office.
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Potential Character Flaws
Trump routinely refers to himself as a savvy businessman, but if his returns are to be believed, he had more net losses than anything.
Supporters of the former President could jump to his defense and argue that his ability to evade hefty taxes is a prime example of his savvy.
Trump himself claimed that his ability to avoid paying large sums in taxes was a reflection of his intellect. In 2016, Hillary Clinton accused him of not paying any income tax. Trump simply responded with “that makes me smart.”
There are several ongoing investigations into the validity of the information on his tax returns. Specifically, deductions tied to significant charitable donations are being looked at carefully.
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Not Adding Up
According to Forbes, Trump is worth an estimated $3.2 billion. However, according to the report published by the Joint Committee on Taxation, he reported negative income in 2015-2017 as well as 2020.
Additionally, Trump only paid $1,500 in income taxes in 2016 and 2017. In 2020, he paid no income tax and claimed a tax refund of almost $5.5 million.
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