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Is Donald Trump a Tax Cheat?

Donald Trump
President of the United States Donald Trump speaking at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. Image by: Gage Skidmore.

House Dems Get Their Wish: Trump’s Tax Returns: Democrats have dreamed for years of making Donald Trump’s tax returns public. The idea is to show that the real estate billionaire has not paid his fair share of taxes. Under this communications ploy, the Left wants to portray Trump as a member of the “one percent” wealthiest Americans who doesn’t care that he may be ripping off the IRS and avoiding paying what he owes.

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Tax Returns Are Finally Public

On December 20, the House Ways and Means Committee voted to make Trump’s tax returns from 2015 to 2020 available for ordinary taxpayers to see.

The tax data from his business entities from those years will be made public too.

The Joint Tax Committee’s staffers have also released a report that showed the IRS is already auditing one of Trump’s returns.

Tax Cheat? Trump Paid Only $1,500 in Federal Taxes Over Two Years

Another report from Ways and Means Committee staffers said that Trump only paid a total of $1,500 in federal income taxes for the years 2016 and 2017.

Trump has maintained that he has been “smart” about using the tax code as it is written and that he only uses tax strategies that other individuals and business use to reduce their tax liability.

Trump Gets a Whopping Tax Refund in 2020

On his 2020 tax returns, the report noted that Trump paid no taxes and even received a refund of $5.47 million.

However, Trump has donated his $1.6 million in salary to the U.S. government during his presidency.

Presidents make $400,000 a year and Trump took no pay while he was in the White House.

Make It a Law to Ensure that All Presidents Are Audited Every Year

But Congressional Democrats want greater oversight and transparency over what presidents declare on their tax returns.

The Ways and Means Committee report recommended that all presidents be audited annually by the IRS.

The Committee’s chair Richard Neal of Massachusetts has sponsored legislation on for that stipulation and requirement.

The IRS has a policy of auditing presidents’ tax returns, but Democrats believe that did not happen during the Trump presidency.

Trump Loses Battle to Keep Returns Hidden

Trump said that he had not released his tax returns because they were in the middle of being audited by the IRS.

Democrats have claimed that all presidents in the modern era have released their tax returns to the public. Trump fought for years in court to keep his tax details private.

House Democrats moved into high gear to make Trump’s IRS foibles open to the public by January when the Republicans take over the majority in the body.

What Can Go Wrong Next?

The tax saga is the latest bad news for the former president. It will be used by Democrats to skewer Trump during the 2024 presidential campaign.

The views on his taxes will likely fall under partisan lines as Democrats will try to show that Trump is a tax cheat, and Republicans will counter that Trump is exhibiting normal behavior on his taxes.

It will be up to Independents to decide if the tax issue affects their votes.

Tortuous Days for Trump

This is becoming death by a thousand cuts for Trump. It is amazing just how much bad legal news and other scandals that are dogging the former president. Just how much can he take before members of his own party look to someone else to be the standard bearer?

Maybe the GOP is ready for another candidate such as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis who can execute and continue to deliver on Trump’s policies without the Trump baggage.

The “soak the rich” mantra often used by politicians on the Left to show that wealthy Republicans are out of touch from the struggles of ordinary Americans will be on display in 2024. Trump may have to explain in further detail why he pays so little in taxes.

The findings by the Democrats will make for a handy television ad against Trump, but it may not be needed if the former president loses his bid in the Republican primary.

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Author Expertise and Experience: Serving as 19FortyFive’s Defense and National Security Editor, Dr. Brent M. Eastwood is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and Foreign Policy/ International Relations.

Written By

Now serving as 1945s New Defense and National Security Editor, Brent M. Eastwood, PhD, is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer.