President Donald Trump, through his White House press secretary, just released his 2005 tax return. As you probably have heard, President Trump has held off releasing his tax returns for the better part of the last year. He has maintained that he can not release his returns because they are currently being audited. Trump did release a plethora of financial information on the day he announced his candidacy, but he has not released a tax return… until now.
Earlier today Rachel Maddow teased that she had come into possession of Donald's 2005 return and would be discussing the details during her evening broadcast. Maddow received the return from an investigative journalist named David Cay Johnston who in turn received the return from an anonymous source sent via the USPS. Fellow MSNBC broadcasters touted the evening as a momentous occasion. Fellow host Lawrence O'Donnell tweeted, "This is the night we've been waiting for."
Not sure if this totally lived up to the hype though…
Looking to scoop her scoop, The White House went ahead and released the return about an hour before her show aired. A White House statement read:
"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. Despite this substantial income figure and tax paid, it is totally illegal to steal and publish tax returns. The dishonest media can continue to make this part of their agenda, while the President will focus on his, which includes tax reform that will benefit all Americans."
Here's what we learn from the return:
In 2005, Donald Trump's total income was $150 million. He paid $38 million in taxes. He took a write-down of $103 million related to a $916 million loss he reported in 1995. Trump used a legal option that allowed him to offset a real estate loss against gains over time. Hence the $103 write-down.
Technically speaking, MSNBC released Donald's 2005 1040 form, not a full tax return. This form describes his TYPES of income not his SOURCES of income. If we want to get technical, seeing a full return would be a lot more of a scoop since it would show exactly how this money is being made. And that's where we would learn if President Trump has any potential conflicts of interest.
Here's an additional statement from The White House:
"Before being elected President, Mr. Trump was one of the most successful businessmen in the world with a responsibility to his company, his family and his employees to pay no more tax than legally required. That being said, Mr. Trump paid $38 million dollars even after taking into account large scale depreciation for construction, on an income of more than $150 million dollars, as well as paying tens of millions of dollars in other taxes such as sales and excise taxes and employment taxes and this illegally published return proves just that."
This is an evolving story. We'll update as more info comes in.