Donald Trump paid an effective tax rate of 25 per cent in 2005 on income of $150m, according to a leaked tax return that sheds a glint of light on the tax affairs the president has kept shrouded in secrecy.
MSNBC reported that two pages of Mr Trump’s return — which revealed nothing about his income sources — showed the president paying $38m in tax and reporting a $105m writedown. The top income tax bracket in 2005 was 35 per cent.
In the 2012 campaign Mitt Romney was criticised for paying an effective tax rate of 14.1 per cent in 2011, which reflected earnings from dividends and capital gains that are taxed at a lower rate than ordinary income.
Mr Trump has refused to release his tax returns — failing to follow what has been accepted practice for all US presidential candidates since Richard Nixon.
Last October the New York Times revealed that Mr Trump had reported a $916m loss on his 1995 return, which tax experts said could have enabled him to avoid paying taxes on $50m of income for 18 years.
The 2005 return suggested that in at least one year he did not take advantage of that loss.
When Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton asserted during a September debate that Mr Trump paid no taxes in some years, Mr Trump responded: “That makes me smart.”
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
Below the headline figures, Mr Trump and his wife Melania paid $5.3m in federal income tax as well as $31m in alternative minimum tax in 2005 — a levy on the wealthy that Mr Trump has said he wants to scrap.
Ahead of MSNBC’s scheduled broadcast, the White House on Tuesday evening released a statement revealing the same figures as the cable channel.
The statement also criticised MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show, calling it “desperate for ratings when you are willing to push a story about two pages of tax returns from over a decade ago”.
It added: “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.”
The Trump team has repeatedly declared that the US public is not interested in Mr Trump’s tax returns, although opinion polling suggests otherwise.
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