WASHINGTON — The White House said Tuesday that Donald Trump earned US$150 million in 2005 and paid over $38 million in taxes, revealing previously undisclosed details as his tax return for that year was leaked.
Revealing narrow details of Trump’s tax history -- a summary of one year’s filing from more than a decade ago -- the admission appeared to back up Trump’s claim that he paid his fair share of taxes.
Trump has steadfastly refused to release his full tax returns, breaking with decades of tradition among presidential candidates of all political parties.
The White House confirmed the details just before David Cay Johnston, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist and MSNBC said they would reveal the short filing.
"The documents show Trump and his wife Melania paying $5.3 million in regular federal income tax -- a rate of less than 4 per cent," Johnston wrote in a post on the Daily Beast.
"However, the Trumps paid an additional $31 million in the so-called ’alternative minimum tax,’ or AMT."
AMT was originally designed to prevent rich taxpayers from using excessive loopholes, and Trump has previously called for its elimination.
Appearing on MSNBC, Johnston said he did not know the source of the leak, noting that the return was placed in his mailbox.
"Let me point out it’s entirely possible Donald sent this to me," he said.
"Donald has a long history of leaking material about himself when he thinks it’s in his interests."
The White House confirmed key details of the 2005 return -- which showed amounts but, crucially, not sources of income.
"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," an administration official said.
Trump paid "no more tax than legally required," the official said.
"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."
The official said that Trump also 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."
"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," the official -- who refused to be named -- claimed. — AFP