Trump’s tax returns launched by the Home Methods and Means Committee

Democratic members of the House Ways and Means Committee led by Chairman Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA) speak during a press conference on Capitol Hill Tuesday, December 20, 2022 in Washington, DC.

Kent Nishimura | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images

The House Ways and Means Committee released former President Donald Trump’s six years of tax returns on Friday, offering the most detailed account of his White House finances yet.

The panel last week voted to release the returns after a protracted legal battle that saw sensitive information redacted. The Ways and Means Committee received Trump’s federal income tax returns for the years 2015 through 2020 last month, along with tax records for some of his business units. The panel had been searching for the records since 2019, when Trump was president, and he tried to block their release in court.

The tax returns for individuals and companies approved by the committee can be found here.

The panel released a report earlier this month summarizing the ex-president’s return. The summary prepared by the Joint Committee on Taxation showed that Trump declared negative earnings in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2020. He paid a total of $1,500 in income taxes for 2016 and 2017.

Trump’s financial records — some of which have come to light in recent years through New York Times reporting — show that the former president, who ran for office partly because of his business acumen, routinely declared large losses and reported little or no for several years paid no taxes. The tax returns suggest that many of Trump’s businesses posted significant losses from the year he made his first presidential bid until his first term as commander in chief. Trump has repeatedly said he was smart about using deductions or losses to minimize his tax burden.

A copy of former US President Donald Trump’s 2015 individual tax return is seen after Trump’s tax returns, obtained late last month after a long court battle, were filed by the US House Ways and Means Committee in Washington, United States, on March 30. December 2022 were released.

Julio Cesar Chavez | Reuters

The financial records show:

  • Trump and his wife Melania reported negative income of $31.7 million and taxable income of $0 on their 2015 tax return. They paid $641,931 in federal income taxes.
  • Upon their return in 2016, the Trumps reported negative income of .2 million and again recorded $0 in taxable income. They paid $750 in taxes.
  • Trump and his wife reported negative income of $12.8 million on their 2017 tax return, with taxable income of $0. They again paid $750 in taxes.
  • The 2018 tax return painted a rosier picture for the Trumps’ finances, reporting total income of $24.4 million and taxable income of $22.9 million. They paid $999,466 in federal income taxes.
  • Trump and his wife reported combined income of $4.44 million and $2.97 million in taxable income on their 2019 tax return. They paid $133,445 in taxes.
  • The 2020 tax return shows negative income of $4.69 million and no taxable income. They paid no taxes and asked for a $5.47 million refund.
  • Yields show large losses for many Trump properties over the six years. For example, a 2015 tax return for “DJT [Donald J. Trump] Holdings LLC” posted a $12 million loss for Trump Turnberry Scotland. Turnberry golf course was losing up to millions of dollars each year through the last year of Trump’s presidency, returns show. Trump paid $63 million to purchase the property in 2014, an independent report at the time.
  • Trump’s Washington, DC hotel in the Old Post Office building lost millions of dollars each year during his first term, tax returns show. The hotel was a hub of activity for Trump allies and others hoping to endear themselves to the former president, and tens of millions of dollars were spent there by GOP-affiliated political committees. Trump’s company contracted to purchase the building in 2013, arranged a 60-year lease, and invested about $200 million to develop a hotel. NBC News reports that the property lost more than $70 million while Trump was in office. The Trump Organization announced earlier this year that it had closed a $375 million sale of the Old Post Office property.
  • Trump reported foreign bank accounts in the UK, Ireland and China in his returns from 2015 to 2017. The returns from 2018 to 2020 list only one UK account

The Democrat-led panel released the results just days before Republicans are set to take control of the House of Representatives. The vast majority of GOP House lawmakers have defended Trump, who submitted another bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.

In a Trump campaign statement on Friday, the former president criticized the House panel for releasing the tax returns and the Supreme Court for allowing the committee to obtain them.

Trump argued the documents “show once again how proud I was and how I was able to use depreciation and various other tax deductions as an incentive to create thousands of jobs and great structures and businesses.”

CNBC Policy

Read more about CNBC’s political coverage:

The former president broke decades of precedent by refusing to release his tax returns as a candidate in the 2016 election. The 2024 campaign will be Trump’s third presidential bid – but the first in which the public will get a clearer picture of his finances and business record.

The Democrat-led Ways and Means Committee said it wanted Trump’s tax returns as part of an investigation into how the IRS reviews the president’s tax returns. The Agency is required to review the President-in-Office’s reports each year.

House Republicans have signaled that their new majority will soften their tone on Trump and push for an investigation into the Biden administration.

In a statement Friday, senior R-Texas Ways and Means Committee member Rep. Kevin Brady claimed Democrats had unleashed “a dangerous new political weapon” with the release of the yields.

— CNBC’s Dan Mangan contributed to this report.

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