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What we learned from the two pages of Trump’s 2005 leaked tax returns and how the president is responding

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WASHINGTON, D.C.– President Donald Trump earned $153 million and paid $26.5 million in income taxes in 2005, according to two pages of an IRS 1040 form made public by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Tuesday night, March 14th.

Those numbers show Trump paid a roughly 25 percent effective tax rate. That’s well above the roughly 10 percent the average American pays each year, but below the 27.4 percent that taxpayers earning 1 million dollars a year average, according to the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation.

The federal tax return also shows Trump reported a business loss of $103 million in 2005, although no other details are reported in the two pages.

The White House responded without even waiting for Maddow’s show to air, issuing a statement that said, in part, “Before being elected president. Mr. Trump was one of the most successful businessmen in the world, without 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 in 2005, the statement says Trump 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 form was obtained by journalist David Cay Johnston, whose reports focus on tax issues. He says he received the documents in the mail, unsolicited.

The President tweeted about the returns at 3:55 AM today, asking, “Does anybody really believe that a reporter who nobody ever heard of, ‘went to his mailbox’ and found my tax returns?”

The unauthorized release of federal tax returns is a criminal offense, punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and up to five years in jail. Maddow, who revealed the returns on her nightly show, argued that MSNBC was exercising its First Amendment right to public information in the public interest.

President Trump has long insisted the public isn’t interested in his tax returns. During the presidential campaign, Trump said he was under an audit and, therefore, couldn’t release his returns.

The White House hasn’t said whether or not the president plans to release his returns while he’s in office. More than 1 million people have signed a White House petition asking the president to release them.

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