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New York Times runs illegally leaked Trump tax returns

Posted 9/28/20

WASHINGTON — The New York Times on Sunday selectively reported that President Donald Trump paid just $750 in federal income taxes in 2016, the year he won the presidency, and in 2017, his first …

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New York Times runs illegally leaked Trump tax returns

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WASHINGTON — The New York Times on Sunday selectively reported that President Donald Trump paid just $750 in federal income taxes in 2016, the year he won the presidency, and in 2017, his first year in office.

However Trump does not earn most of his income from sources subject to federal income tax and has paid a considerable amount of other taxes elsewhere.

There is nothing illegal about what Trump did, even though national media and the Associated Press claimed "bombshell revelations".

Although AP did not report the fact, the Times apparently obtained illegally leaked records. That would be a felony according to 26 U.S. Code § 7213 that makes it illegal to disclose unauthorized information, including tax returns.

Elsewhere, reports indicate that in 2016, his last year in office, Joe Biden earned about $400k while in 2017 and 2018, the Bidens made more than $16.5 million.

It is legal to avoid paying taxes unnecessarily. The Times says Trump paid no income taxes whatsoever in 10 of the previous 15 years, largely because he reported losing more money than he made. AP left out that Trump paid $72 million from 2005 to 2008 but is claiming a refund under an Obama tax law and that is under audit now.

Failing to distinguish between income and wealth, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer tweeted followers to raise their hands “if you paid more in federal income tax than President Trump”.

After the article appeared, National Democratic leaders made unsupported claims about Trump’s wealth that misrepresent how and when taxes are collected. The wealthy often earn less as income since their wealth is primarily increased through capital gains not taxable until a particular investment is sold.

—AP stories contributed to this report.

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