Trump Wrote Off $100 Million in Losses in 2005, Leaked Forms Show
WASHINGTON — President Trump wrote off $100 million in business losses to reduce his federal taxes in 2005, according to forms made public on Tuesday night in a rare glimpse at documents that he has refused to disclose since becoming a candidate for the nation’s highest office.
The forms showed that Mr. Trump paid $38 million in federal income taxes on reported income of $150 million, an effective tax rate of 25 percent, according to Rachel Maddow, who aired them on her MSNBC show. By claiming losses from previous years, Mr. Trump was able to save tens of millions of dollars in taxes that he otherwise might have owed.
The White House responded without even waiting for the show to air, issuing a statement that seemed to confirm the authenticity of the forms even as it defended Mr. Trump and assailed the network for publicizing them. “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,” the statement said.
The White House added: “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.” In addition to the federal income taxes, the statement said, he paid “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.”
The tax forms were sent to David Cay Johnston, a former New York Times reporter who covered the Internal Revenue Service for years and has written a book on Mr. Trump. Appearing with Ms. Maddow, he said he had received the forms “over the transom” and did not know who had sent them. He suggested that they might even have been sent by Mr. Trump himself.
这份税务报表被交给前《纽约时报》记者戴维·凯·约翰斯顿(David Cay Johnston)，他曾多年报道国家税务局新闻，并写过一本关于特朗普的书。他与玛多同时在节目中出现时，说自己是通过“气窗”收到了这份表格，不知道是谁送来的。他认为它们甚至有可能是由特朗普本人送来的。
Mr. Trump’s refusal to make his tax returns public broke with decades of tradition in presidential contests and emerged as a central issue in the campaign. That drumbeat has continued since he entered the White House, particularly from people who feel his returns may shed light on various aspects of his business practices, including whether he has done business with Russian firms and banks.
Mr. Trump initially promised he would release the returns: “I have very big returns, as you know, and I have everything all approved and very beautiful, and we’ll be working that over in the next period of time,” he said in a January 2016 television interview. He then backpedaled, saying he would wait until the Internal Revenue Service had completed its audit. In May 2016, his lawyers released a letter saying that his personal tax returns had been “under continuous examination” by the I.R.S. since 2002, and that the examinations for the returns from 2009 on were continuing.
The I.R.S. has not confirmed that Mr. Trump’s taxes are in fact under audit.
Democrats immediately pounced on Tuesday night’s report, arguing that the White House’s decision to release details of Mr. Trump’s 2005 taxes before Ms. Maddow’s show undercut his past refusal to release any such information.
“If they can release some of the information, they can release all of the information,” Zac Petkanas, a senior adviser to the Democratic National Committee, said in a statement. “The only reason not to release his returns is to hide what’s in them, such as financial connections with Russian oligarchs and the Kremlin.”
In October, The New York Times published three pages of Mr. Trump’s 1995 returns, which showed a $916 million tax deduction that could have allowed him to legally avoid paying any federal income taxes for up to 18 years.
This deduction was derived from the financial wreckage of some of the companies he drove into bankruptcy years ago, including his Atlantic City casinos, and would have allowed him to cancel out taxable income for an 18-year period. A tax code provision benefiting real estate developers, which took effect in 1993, permitted businesses like Mr. Trump’s to take tax deductions for losing other people’s money.