Foreign accounts, Melania’s modelling, no charity in 2020: What we know about Trump’s tax returns

Melania’s modeling, Trump’s stingy charity habits and where he claimed taxable income or losses

Eric Garcia
Washington DC
Saturday 31 December 2022 07:28 GMT
Trump tax returns: What do we know?

On Friday, the House Ways & Means Committee released former president Donald Trump’s tax returns from 2015 to 2020. The release is a culmination of a years’-long legal battle between the former president and the committee, where Democrats currently control the majority.

Democrats released Mr Trump’s returns, which he refused to release during his two campaigns for president and during his tenure in the White House, just days before Republicans are set to take the majority in the House of Representatives after November’s election.

The committee released a report on the former president’s taxes last week before it combed through his forms. That report found that the Internal Revenue Service started a mandatory audit for only one of the former president’s tax returns during his administration, during 2016. The report also stated that he made large sums of money sent to his children that could actually be gifts but were designated as loans to avoid a gift tax.

The tax returns are not only for Mr Trump’s personal finances with his wife Melania but also for his businesses. As a result, it will take time for news outlets, including The Independent, to comb through them. But here is a rolling list of the most interesting revelations from his tax returns.

Trump made zero charitable contributions in his final year as president

The former president’s lack of charitable donations with his own money became a sourcey of scrutiny during his 2016 presidential campaign, thanks in part to reporting from The Washington Post. At the same time, when Mr Trump ran for president, he said he would donate his presidential salary to charity. And his White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, declared that he would donate $100,000 to the Department of Health of Human Services in a tweet sent March of 2020.

But in 2020, the former president did not give any money to charity in 2020, according to his joint income filing with Ms Trump, according to line 10b of his 1040 tax return. The former president’s lack of charitable contribution came as he reported a loss of $4.7m during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Fred Trump’s legacy loomed large

The former president claimed often to be a self-made man, but in reality his father’s presence is all over Mr Trump’s tax returns — even years after his death.

Mr Trump’s returns from 2018 show a net loss from sales of real estate properties purchased or built during Mr Trump’s tenure helming the Trump Organization. But the same year, he reported a net income in that that category thanks to major profits made from the sale of properties passed down through his inheritance, totalling more than $24 million.

It could be a sign of how properties associated with Donald Trump himself fared thanks to his controversial entrance into politics.

Trump claimed taxable income or losses in China, Israel, Canda and other foreign countries

One of the major concerns throughout the Trump presidency and campaign was that he would be beholden to foreign governments because of his multiple business entanglements.

His tax returns included taxable income and losses from Azerbaijan, Panama, Qatar, India, Canada, the People’s Republic of China, Saint Martin, the United Kingdom, Ireland, the United Arab Emirates, the US commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Indonesia, Israel, Turkey, Uruguay and the Dominican Republic. He also listed “other country.”

Foreign bank accounts

Mr Trump had foreign bank accounts in China, the UK, Ireland and St Maarten during his time at the White House. In his first year in office he paid more tax abroad than in the US.

Melania’s modelling money

Before she married Mr Trump, the former first lady enjoyed a career in modeling. It turns out, she also made money from the enterprise while she was in the White House. In 2020, Ms Trump listed “modeling” as her principal business and earned $3,848 in gross income from it.

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