Donald Trump's released tax returns reveal new details about the ex-US President's finances. Trump therefore still had a business bank account in China during his tenure, as several US media, including broadcaster CNN, reported after reviewing thousands of pages of tax documents.
In the documents, Trump reported a bank account in China for the years 2015 to 2017, among other things. In a television debate during the 2020 presidential election campaign, however, Trump stated that the account in China had already been closed in 2015. Trump moved into the White House in early 2017.
After years of legal wrangling, a US congressional committee has released tax documents belonging to former President Donald Trump.
The House of Representatives' Democratic-led Treasury Committee has posted thousands of pages of Trump's tax documents from 2015 to 2020 online. It shows, according to the panel, that Trump has paid little or no federal income tax for several years, despite boasting about his wealth. For years, Trump had used legal means to resist handing over the documents to the Finance Committee - and finally failed in the US Supreme Court a few weeks ago.
The committee had previously submitted two reports with a large amount of information from the tax documents and decided with the majority of Democrats to make the original documents accessible to the public, at least in part - or with the blacking out of sensitive information. That now followed. It is a large amount of data that anyone interested can see. It's a major defeat for Trump and comes as he is bidding to run again for the Republicans in the 2024 presidential election.
Trump claimed heavy losses
In the pre-summary reports that the committee published last week, detailed information from Trump's tax returns for the years 2015 to 2020 were listed - i.e. from the period shortly before and throughout his term as president. In 2016, the year he was elected, and in 2017, his first year in the White House, Trump paid only $750 in federal income tax and claimed high losses. In 2018 he reported millions in profits and paid around $1 million in income tax, and in 2019 his tax was around $133,000. In the last year of office, 2020, Trump paid no income tax at all.
The "New York Times" had already reported in the middle of the election campaign before the 2020 presidential election that Trump only paid $750 in federal income tax in 2016 and 2017. This was made possible by write-offs and credits, among other things because of high losses. Trump denied that at the time, claiming he paid "millions."
The finance committee recently complained: "Numerous reports revealed that the former president had pursued aggressive tax strategies and decades-long tax avoidance strategies through the complex regulations of his personal and business finances." One of the panel's two reports released last week also said the IRS had failed to properly screen Trump. In the four years of his tenure, only one mandatory audit had been initiated and not a single one had been completed. Trump had always emphasized during his presidency that his tax documents were being checked - which is why he could not publish them.
Trump refused to disclose the documents
Contrary to usual practice in the United States, real estate entrepreneur Trump did not make his tax returns public either as a presidential candidate or after moving into the White House. Critics therefore suspected that he had something to hide - also because he defended himself by legal means with all means against the disclosure of the documents.
The Finance Committee in the House of Representatives had been trying for years to get hold of the tax documents. During Trump's administration, the Treasury Department initially stood in the way. Only in the administration of his Democratic successor Joe Biden last year did the Treasury Department finally instruct the IRS to hand over the documents to the committee. Trump fought back in court and tried various instances until the only option left was to go to the Supreme Court, where he ultimately failed in November.
This was a last-minute success for the committee: Since the Republicans won the majority in the House of Representatives in the congressional elections and will be in charge there from next week, the Democratic-led body had little time to do anything about the matter.
Trump reacted furiously to the publication. "The Democrats should never have done it, the Supreme Court should never have approved it, and it's going to do terrible things for so many people," the Republican said in a written statement. This will only widen the gap in the United States. Trump also claimed the tax returns only reflected his entrepreneurial success, revealing how he used depreciation and tax deductions as an incentive to create thousands of jobs.
The tax documents are by no means Trump's only problem. Investigations are underway against him because of the attack by his supporters on the US Capitol in 2021 and because he kept some top-secret government documents in his private home after leaving office.