Trump’s Tiny Tax Bill
It’s been four years since Donald Trump promised to release his personal income tax returns. Now that The New York Times has gone and done it for him, it’s easy to see why the president never followed through on that promise.
Trump ultimately paid just $750 per year in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017, according to the Times report, and that was $750 more than he paid in other recent years. In fact, in 11 out of 18 years that the Times looked at, Trump effectively paid $0 in federal income tax.
Trump’s tax burden was “less than those earning under $5K, and less then every income group earning more than $20K,” New York University law professor Lily Batchelder points out.
It’s also much less than he paid in taxes to other nations. “In 2017, the president’s $750 contribution to the operations of the U.S. government was dwarfed by the $15,598 he or his companies paid in Panama, the $145,400 in India and the $156,824 in the Philippines,” says the Times.
Just finished reading the big Trump Taxes NYT piece but I came away from it feeling like the federal tax code is the real villain here
— Eric Boehm (@EricBoehm87) September 28, 2020
How did he pay so little here? “Trump initially paid almost $95 million in federal income taxes over the 18 years,” the Times reports. But he
later managed to recoup most of that money, with interest, by applying for and receiving a $72.9 million tax refund, starting in 2010.
The refund reduced his total federal income tax bill between 2000 and 2017 to an annual average of $1.4 million. By comparison, the average American in the top .001 percent of earners paid about $25 million in federal income taxes each year over the same span.
The refund also earned him an IRS audit, starting in 2011, that has not been resolved.
“A lot of tax scams out there but it’s genuinely rare—and suspicious—for a rich person to have such a low tax bill,” claime
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