House Democrats released six years of Donald Trump’s tax returns on Friday, marking an end to a protracted legal battle staged by the former US president as he mounts his third bid for the White House.
The redacted documents shed additional light on the former president’s business dealings about a week after the Democratic-led House ways and means committee released a summary of his filings.
The report, which was compiled by Congress’s non-partisan joint committee on taxation, showed Trump paid $1.8mn in federal income tax between 2015 and 2020, having reported negative income in several of those years and in turn minimal to no tax liability.
Trump declared no taxable income for 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2020, having reported $82mn in combined losses across that period. In 2018 and 2019 — the two years for which he reported taxable income — he declared nearly $29mn of adjusted gross income.
The report noted the majority of the Trump vehicles in some years reported “either no gross income (ie only expenses), or gross income and expenses that entirely offset, raising the questions of whether these were valid trade or business activities, or whether these schedules contained costs derived from personal activities or hobbies”.
Trump’s refusal to disclose his tax returns both as a presidential candidate and in office broke with a precedent that has been in place since the 1970s. President Joe Biden, meanwhile, has made public 24 years’ worth of documents. In 2021, Biden and his wife paid $150,439 in federal income taxes on $610,702 of adjusted gross income, translating to a tax rate of 24.6 per cent.
Friday’s release marked the latest blow to Trump and his business empire following the launch of his third bid for the White House ahead of the 2024 presidential election.
Last week, the bipartisan congressional committee that is probing the January 6 attack on the US Capitol said Trump should be prosecuted for assisting the insurrection to overturn the 2020 election results and also face criminal charges for obstructing an official government proceeding, conspiring to defraud the US and knowingly making false statements to authorities.
That was preceded earlier this month by a conviction by a New York jury, which found the Trump Organization guilty of running a 13-year tax fraud scheme.