United States President Donald Trump made more than $150 million in income in 2005 and paid $38 million in federal taxes that year, the White House on Tuesday said.
The White House made the statement soon before the MSNBC host Rachel Maddow presented a report on two pages of Trump's 2005 tax reforms on her Tuesday night show.
Trump's tax records of the year 2005 were obtained by Pulitzer prize-winning journalist David Cay Johnston. Johnston said that he received the documents unsolicited in his mail, according to the Associated Press reports.
Trump had refused to release his tax returns during the presidential elections campaign last year, breaking a decade-long tradition where all the candidates running for the presidential position show their tax history. Ever since Trump's refusal to release his returns, his documents have become highly sought-after.
The Republican businessman, during the elections campaign, had claimed that he was under audit by the Internal Revenue Service and had said that his attorneys had advised him against releasing his tax statements. However, IRS officials and experts stated that such audits do not restrict taxpayers from releasing their tax returns, raising questions about the authenticity of the president's statements.
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The tax documents show that Trump paid $36.5 million in taxes on $153 million in income, at an effective tax rate of around 24 percent. According to data from Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, Trump's tax percentage is below the 27.4 percent that taxpayers earning 1 million dollars a year pay on an average.
Referring to the documents obtained by Johnston, the White House on Tuesday night said that publishing those documents will 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.
Release or publishing of federal tax returns without permission is a criminal offence and is punishable by up to five years in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. MSNC's Maddow however said that the channel was exercising its First Amendment right to publish information in the public interest.
Since Trump has refused to release his tax returns even after he became the president, more than 1 million people have signed a White House petition urging the president to release his tax returns.
The White House has not yet made a statement whether Trump will release his tax returns in the future.