Trump’s income and tax returns

Not much has happened in the two weeks I have been away, possibly with this exception.

Donald Trump has still not released his recent income tax returns, but two pages of his 2005 return were leaked to the press earlier this week. Because of the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), Trump paid taxes that year equal to about 25% of his reported income of roughly $150 million. Without the AMT, which Trump would like to abolish, his 2005 tax bill would have been only 3% of his income.

Presidents dating back to [Richard] Nixon have released their tax information. As Nixon himself explained: “People have got to know whether or not their president is a crook.” Two pages from a twelve-year-old tax form simply do not shed much light on the president’s business dealings or potential conflicts of interest. As it stands, Americans have every reason to worry about profiteering in the White House. Unfortunately, having dribs and drabs of tax information leak slowly into the media encourages the kind of speculative and even conspiratorial thinking that undermines public debate. ….

President Trump has said that avoiding your taxes is “smart.” We are lucky that most Americans hold themselves to a higher standard. They deserve to know whether Trump has shirked a civic duty that the citizenry takes so seriously.

Vanessa Williamson, “What Trump’s tax returns tell us: The public needs to see more“, FixGov, Brookings Institution, 16 March 2017.

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