Watch full video: Trump’s tax returns released after long fight with Congress

Watch full video: Trump’s tax returns released after long fight with Congress

Friday marked the completion of a yearlong campaign by Democrats in Congress to discover more about the financial situation of former business magnate Donald Trump, who defied decades of political tradition by refusing to voluntarily provide the information as he ran for the White House.

The returns, which have sensitive personal data like Social Security and bank account numbers redacted, cover the years 2015 to 2020. Following a party-line decision in the House Ways and Means Committee last week to make the returns public, they have now been made available. Republicans protested that the publication would set a dangerous precedent with regard to the loss of privacy rights, arguing that the revelation would not uphold the rule of law or transparency. Committee Democrats contended that these issues were at risk.

Trump had fought in court to keep his tax returns private while he was president and had refused to reveal them when he was running for office. However, the Supreme Court decided last month that he had to give them to the Ways and Means Committee, which drafts tax laws.

The release raises the possibility of fresh information about Trump’s finances, which have been shrouded in mystery and intrigue since his days as a budding Manhattan real estate developer in the 1980s. This is especially true given that it comes just days before Trump’s fellow Republicans retake control of the House from the Democrats. The fact that Trump has announced his bid for the presidency in 2024 may give the results a greater sense of significance.

They will probably present the most precise picture yet of his financial situation during his term in office.

Before being elected president, Trump built towers and hosted a reality TV program. He did, however, provide some limited information about his assets and income on required disclosure forms. His wealth has been highlighted in the annual financial accounts he submits to banks in order to obtain loans and to financial publications in order to support his inclusion on lists of the world’s billionaires.

Since then, the statements have been denied by Trump’s longtime accounting company, and New York Attorney General Letitia James has launched a lawsuit, saying that Trump and his Trump Organization exaggerated asset values on the statements as part of a long-running scam. Both Trump and his business have denied any wrongdoing.

Trump’s tax returns have previously been the subject of inquiry.

Trump received the equivalent of at least $413 million in today’s dollars from his father’s real estate holdings in October 2018, according to a Pulitzer Prize-winning series by The New York Times based on leaked tax records. A large portion of that money came from what the Times called “tax dodges” in the 1990s.

Trump paid just $750 in federal income taxes in 2017 and 2018 and no income taxes at all in 10 of the previous 15 years, according to a second series in 2020, because he typically lost more money than he made.

The Ways and Means Committee suggested in its report from last week that the Trump administration may have ignored a post-Watergate regulation requiring audits of a president’s tax returns.

More than two years into Trump’s presidency, the IRS didn’t start auditing Trump’s 2016 tax returns until April 3, 2019, when the committee’s chairman, Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., requested information about the tax returns.

According to Andrew Bates, a White House spokeswoman, President Joe Biden’s tax returns for the years 2020 and 2021 were audited. According to a representative for the previous president, Barack Obama, each of his eight years in office included an audit.

Trump’s carryover losses, deductions for charitable contributions and environmental causes, and loans to his children that may be considered taxable gifts are just a few of the issues that the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation of Congress noted in a report about the president’s tax returns.

In response, the House approved a bill requiring audits of any president’s tax returns. Republicans vehemently opposed the legislation, arguing that mandatory audits would violate taxpayer privacy and open the door to their being used as a political weapon.

With a new Republican-led House taking office in January, the legislation, which was largely adopted along party lines, has little chance of becoming law anytime soon. Instead, it is viewed as a beginning point for later initiatives to strengthen presidential oversight.

Republicans have said that after they get control of the government next week, Democrats will regret their decision, and they have cautioned that the incoming GOP chair of the committee will face pressure to find and release the tax returns of additional well-known individuals.

Since Richard Nixon, every president and major-party candidate has voluntarily made at least brief summaries of their tax returns available to the public. With his frequent claims that his taxes were “under audit” and couldn’t be revealed, Trump defied this tendency both as a candidate and as president.

The request by Trump’s attorneys to conceal his tax returns from the House committee was repeatedly rejected. A federal appeals court panel of three judges upheld a previous court decision granted the committee access in August.

Additionally, Trump’s attorneys lost twice in the Supreme Court in their attempt to prevent the Manhattan district attorney’s office from obtaining Trump’s tax papers as part of its probe into his business operations.

At the Trump Organization’s recent Manhattan criminal trial, Donald Bender, Trump’s longtime accountant, testified that Trump claimed losses on his tax returns every year for a decade, including roughly $700 million in 2009 and $200 million in 2010.

Bender, a partner at Mazars USA LLP who spent years preparing Trump’s personal tax returns, claimed that net operating losses from some of the numerous companies he controls through the Trump Organization were included in Trump’s reported losses from 2009 to 2018.

The Trump Organization was found guilty of tax fraud earlier this month for aiding some executives in evading taxes on company-provided benefits including houses and expensive cars.

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