Trump Tax Returns Give First Glimpse at What He Fought to Hide

Former President Donald Trump

A report last week summarized Trump’s tax filings and also flagged dozens of potential audit triggers that the IRS didn’t pursue.

Trump and his businesses lost tens of millions of dollars from 2015 to 2020 and he was able to use those losses, along with claiming large tax breaks, to minimize his tax bill. That’s legal as long as he didn’t under-report earnings or inflate the size of the deductions, which can only be determined from a comprehensive audit.

The returns also give more detail into how Trump benefited from his 2017 tax cut law, which included levy breaks and expanded write-offs for some top earners.

The House passed legislation last week that would mandate that the IRS conduct an annual audit of the president and then release the tax returns and examination results publicly. But the Senate did not act on it before adjourning for the year.

Such a bill would serve as a backstop for future presidential candidates who buck the decades-long tradition of making tax records public during the campaign.

It’s unclear whether it could become law next year. Senate Democrats have pledged to take up the bill, but House Republicans, who will soon have a majority in the chamber, have criticized the proposal.

(Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg

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