Donald Trump paid millions because of tax law he wants to abolish

Around 82 per cent of total paid were the result of a tax he campaigned to change

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Donald Trump's income and tax returns from 2005 show he had to pay tens of millions of dollars because of a tax rule he vowed to abolish.

The tax returns show the former reality TV star made more than $150m (£123m) in 2005 and paid $38m (£31m) in income taxes.

While he and his wife Melania paid $5.3m (£4.3m) in regular federal income tax, a rate of less than four per cent, the couple paid $31m (£25m) in "alternative minimum tax" or AMT, which Mr Trump pledged to eliminate during his campaign.

This means around 82 per cent of the total paid to the Internal Revenue Service that year was the result of a tax Mr Trump campaigned to change.

David Cay Johnson, the respected US reporter who claimed to have received the President's tax returns in the post from an unknown source, tweeted to say Mr Trump paid a lower rate of AMT than the poorest 50 per cent of Americans.

The publication of Mr Trump's tax returns prompted swift condemnation from the White House, which said publishing the returns would be illegal.

“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 White House said in a statement.

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“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.

“That being said, Mr. Trump paid $38 million dollars even after taking into account large scale depreciation for construction, on an income of more than $150 million dollars, as well as paying tens of millions of dollars in other taxes such as sales and excise taxes and employment taxes and this illegally published return proves just that."

The statement added: “Despite this substantial income figure and tax paid, it is totally illegal to steal and publish tax returns.

“The dishonest media can continue to make this part of their agenda, while the President will focus on his, which includes tax reform that will benefit all Americans.”

Mr Trump refused to release his tax returns during the presidential election campaign, claiming he was under audit by the IRS, though this would not legally prevent him from releasing them.

Since his election, he has declared that Americans do not care about his tax returns and said only the media care. 

However, a Washington Post/ABC News poll in January found that 74 per cent of Americans - including 49 per cent of Mr Trump’s own supporters - wanted him to release his returns.