Former president Donald Trump is defending his use of accounting strategies to minimise his federal tax payments after the House Ways and Means Committee released six years of his personal and business returns.
Last week, committee members voted along party lines to release Mr Trump’s returns after redacting them to conceal sensitive data such as social security numbers and contact details. The decision was one of the last acts of the House’s tax-writing and regulation committee after four years of Democratic control, as the current Democratic majority’s ability to release the documents will lapse when the 118th Congress convenes on 3 January.
The documents shed light on the rather opaque conditions of Mr Trump’s income and net worth, both of which have been shrouded in secrecy for years. They were obtained just weeks ago after the Supreme Court declined to take up a last-ditch effort by Mr Trump to keep the committee from obtaining his returns under a century-old law allowing the chair of either the House Ways and Means or Senate Finance Committees to request any American’s tax return from the Treasury Department.
In a statement, Mr Trump said the Democrats who control the House until the 118th Congress convenes on 3 January “should have never done it” and the US Supreme Court “should have never approved” the committee’s request for the returns, which was the focus of a yearslong court battle that spanned Mr Trump’s own administration and the Biden administration.
He said the release of his return documents for the years 2015 to 2020 will “lead to horrible things for so many people” and cause divisions in the US to “grow far worse”.
“The radical, left Democrats have weaponised everything, but remember, that is a dangerous two-way street,” the ex-president said. He also claimed the documents show he has been “proudly successful” and illustrate the way he has “have been able to use depreciation and various other tax deductions as an incentive for creating thousands of jobs nd magnificent structures and enterprises”.