US news organisation MSNBC claims to have obtained President Donald Trump’s tax returns, and plans to release them within hours.
The 1040 form the network said it has obtained refers to the standard federal income taxform used to report an individual’s gross income. Exactly how the network obtained the tax return is also unclear. Repeated attempts by various political and media organisations during the past year have failed.
In response to the network’s claims, The White House released a statement that said Mr Trump paid US$38 million in taxes on an income of US$150 million in 2005.
“You know you are desperate for ratings when you are willing to violate the law to push a story about two pages of tax returns from over a decade ago,” the statement read.
“Before being elected President, Mr Trump was one of the most successful businessmen in the world with a responsibility to his company, his family and his employees to pay no more tax than legally required.
“Despite this substantial income figure and tax paid, it is totally illegal to steal and publish tax returns.”
President Trump has repeatedly said he would not release his personal tax details, claiming he was unable to do so because of an audit by the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS, however, says there is no reason why he cannot make his own details public.
President Trump’s tax returns have been of renewed interest in recent weeks as they may reveal the extent of his financial ties to Russia.
An IRS Tax Form 1040 (U.S. Individual Income Tax Return) is the standard federal income taxform used to report an individual’s gross income (e.g., money, goods, property, and services). It is also known as “the long form” because it is more extensive than the shorter 1040A and 1040EZ TaxForms.
President Trump deducted US$39.1 million (A$51.71 million) from his 2005 federal income taxes by saying he would not to build houses on a New Jersey golf course he owns, according to public records, as revealed in The Wall Street Journal.
The year 2005 was a pivotal one for America’s new president. It was his second year at the helm of the The Apprentice, the show that turned him into a global reality TV superstar. It was also the year he married his third and current wife, Melania.
Rachel Maddow has been hosting her own eponymous show on MSNBC since 2008, and has picked up an Emmy alongside many other awards. The 43-year-old anchor — who has previously described herself as “undoubtedly a liberal” has become a target for conservative critics, who have slammed her as a “far left” partisan.
President Trump is is the first Presidential candidate from either the Democrats or Republicans not to throw open his financial records to the public since 1976. A poll in January revealed 74 per cent of US voters felt he should have done so.
The custom of presidential candidates releasing their tax returns began in 1968 with George Romney. Mr Romney made his returns public, while getting ready to run against Lydon Johnson and Richard Nixon.
In contrast Mr Nixon refused to make his financial affairs public. In 1972 Mr Nixon again declined to release his tax returns. In 1973, the Internal Revenue Service audited President Nixon, which lead to his famous remark.
“I welcome this kind of examination, because people have got to know whether or not their President is a crook. Well, I am not a crook. I have earned everything I have got.”
The IRS ordered Nixon to pay more than US$400,000 (A$529,000) in back taxes for making improper deductions.
In 1974 the Watergate scandal let to Mr Nixon’s resignation, but new President Gerald Ford did not release his full returns, instead making public a summation.
In 1978 the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 was passed. The Act requires all Presidential and vice-Presidential candidates to file a Public Disclosure Report with the Federal Election Commission. The system aims to prevent financial conflicts of interest.
Former President Barack Obama and ex vice-President Joe Biden were found to have no conflicts of interest.