In one of its last acts under Democratic control, the US House of Representatives on Friday released six years of former President Donald Trump’s tax returns, dating from 2015, the year he announced his presidential bid.

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The thousands of pages of financial documents were the subject of a protracted legal battle after Trump broke precedent by not releasing his tax returns, and then held the highest office in the land.

Some takeaways from reviewing the documents:


The longtime real estate and media mogul with business interests on multiple continents was asked during a 2020 presidential debate about having a bank account in China. He said he called it off before starting his 2016 campaign – his tax returns show it was not true.

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During the debate, Trump said, “The bank account was there in 2013. I believe it was closed in 2015.” “I was thinking about doing a deal in China. Like millions of other people I was thinking about it. I decided not to do it.

However, tax returns report that Trump had a bank account in China in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

The returns show accounts over the years in other foreign countries including the United Kingdom, Southern Ireland and the Caribbean island nation of Saint Martin. By 2018, Trump had apparently closed all of his foreign accounts except for one in the UK, which was home to one of his prime golf properties.

The return does not give details of the funds held in those accounts.

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China is one of many countries where Trump has reported making money over the years.

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They reported foreign gross income of $38 million in 2016 and $55 million in 2017 from countries including Azerbaijan, India, Indonesia, Panama, the Philippines, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

Such awareness of the potential conflict of interest of the Commander-in-Chief of the United States is one reason why presidents generally release their tax returns.

It is not clear where that foreign money came from. Trump claimed millions of dollars in losses and expenses in his foreign investments, but sometimes his liabilities were higher than those in the U.S. In 2016, for example, Trump told the Internal Revenue Service that he owed $1.2 million in foreign taxes. paid, while he paid only $750 in US income tax.

It has long been known that Trump, like many wealthy people, has been able to exploit the country’s complex tax code to avoid paying a substantial portion of his income to the federal government, as working families do. When pressed at a 2016 debate against Democrat Hillary Clinton on not paying federal taxes, Trump replied, “That makes me smart.”

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It also highlights the two-tier tax system that allows wealthy people like Trump to take advantage of breaks and loopholes not available to regular households. For example, in 2020, Trump reported owning more than 150 private corporations that claimed damages, sometimes in the millions of dollars. By partially claiming those losses, Trump nullified his own federal tax income liability that year.

Some of those losses were real as the coronavirus pandemic battered the economy. But others reflect special deductions that developers like Trump can take on the depreciation of buildings and equipment.

Some of the losses Trump claimed may be more questionable _ one of the companies he reported owning called “unreimbursed expenses.” The Joint Committee on Taxation noted that one of Trump’s firms claimed losses of $438,000 for gift card redemptions and urged additional investigation into whether the losses were real — one of several cuts that the Democratic-controlled committee considered. asked for further investigation.

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Those are the kind of deductions that the typical American household earning $70,000 a year can’t take.

In the final year of his presidency, Trump reported no charitable donations.

This was in contrast to the previous two years, when Trump reported giving donations worth $500,000. It is unclear whether any figures include his pledge to donate back his $400,000 presidential salary to the US government.

Trump, who claims to be a billionaire, told The Associated Press in 2015 that he was “donating hundreds of charities and people in need of help.”

“It’s one of the things I love doing the most and a great way to make a lot of money,” he said.

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He reported large donations in 2016 and 2017, donating $1.1 million the year he won the presidency and $1.8 million in his first year in office.

Trump received a $77,808 annual pension from the Screen Actors Guild as well as a $6,543 pension from another film and TV union in 2017, and reported acting earnings as $14,141 in 2015, according to tax returns.

Trump has made cameo appearances in various films, notably “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York”, but his biggest on-screen success came with his reality TV shows “The Apprentice” and “The Celebrity Apprentice”, where Each episode will end. in a boardroom setting with Trump dismissing a contestant with his trademark phrase: “You’re fired!”

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By Rahul

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