When things appear out of thin air, I start to wonder. Mostly because a tax return, from our current president, is such a “nut to find” (ie “SQUIRREL”) to the media. Is it real? I dunno. But, I had to look at the documents for myself.
There are a number of interesting things you can learn from the documents.
- There seems to be 2 hole punches at the top. This might imply the original document was kept in a legal binder which suggests a legal office as origin.
- Melania filed using her legal name Melanija Knavs and not Melania Knauss.
- Donald gave $3 to the presidential election campaign fund. I guess he believed in fair elections free of billionaire and corporate money back then. Sad that $3 is really the only verified charitable donation we have on record for him.
- Barron had yet to be born, so no exemptions there.
- He had tax exempt interest and qualified dividends.
- Client Copy stamped on the bottom implies the document was lifted by someone from within the Trump’s own orbit. I don’t suggest he released it himself, but he certainly could have and a case could be made for him doing so. It would be a distraction from the epic fail of Trumpcare.
- The LHA printed at the bottom of the page means his accountant used CCH ProSystem tax software.
- Also, apparently, he filed his taxes late because the bottom has two notes indicating there was interest charged on unpaid taxes and a penalty. Penalties are usually 5% of the unpaid taxes for each month they are late.
Forms that should be attached to this filing include — but no one has yet seen —
- W2s for Wages, salaries, tips, etc
- 1099-INT. Taxable interest is usually money other companies pay you. Tax exempt interest is also declared on a 1099-INT .
- Statements, at least 9.
- Statement 1 is about Other income. List type and amount .
- Statement 2 about his Taxable refunds, credits, or offsets of state and local income taxes,
- Statement 4 is about Melania’s Taxable refunds, credits, or offsets of state and local income taxes,
- Statement 6 about alimony he paid or didn’t pay, and
- Statement 9 is about Excess social security and tier 1 RRTA tax withheld.
- I can’t tell what Statements 3, 5, 7, or 8 are about. I just know they exist.
- Schedule A Itemized deductions
- Schedule B for taxable interest.
- Schedule C about his business profits.
- Schedule D about his capital gains.
- Schedule E about Rental real estate, royalties, partnerships, S corporations, trusts, etc
- Schedule SE One-half of self-employment tax, which he paid.
- Form 6251 Alternative minimum tax
- Form 1116 Foreign Tax Credits
- Form 3800 General Business Credit
- Form 4136 Credit for Federal Tax Paid on Fuels For is airplane I guess.
- Form 4868, because he requested an extension on his filing.
I think the weirdest thing was at the very bottom. Weiser LLP, (now called Mazar) the accountant firm who prepared this 1040 is listed at 3000 Marcus Ave, Lake Success, NY. Oddly The Donald J Trump Foundation Inc, had it’s offices there too.
When you live and work in Manhattan — where plenty of accountants exist — having your accountant 20 miles away is weird. Having it 20 miles away and in the same building as your “charitable” foundation that does no charity work? Super weird.
Also there is a claim by Trump that 2005 was the only year Weiser LLP did his taxes. Interesting fact, Wieser LLP prepared a 2004 Statement of Financial Condition on Trump and his entities. That means Wieser LLP was doing multiple years of Trump’s audit work.
A partner in Weiser LLP, Gerald Rosenblum, who worked on the Statement, stated, and I quote from Trump vs O’Brien http://caselaw.findlaw.com/nj-superior-court-appellate-division/1579526.html
Rosenblum “was asked in his deposition whether he was aware of all liabilities of Trump and his related entities. He responded: ‘I asked the client to provide me with a list of liabilities as they existed at June 30th, 2005. The client presented me with a list, in essence. I was not certain to this day that I was aware of all Mr. Trump’s liabilities at that point in time, and I sought no corroboration.‘ “
Clearly Mr Roseblum isn’t exactly a great CPA. He’s one of those guys that does what makes his client happy. He doesn’t really do his job. He relies on his clients to be honest, knowing that they probably aren’t but not really caring and filing such probably false statements with the IRS and others. Nice.
To me, it seems like the POTUS just wanted something, anything to cause a stir and distract from the DOA his own party is handing Trumpcare. So he sent out a couple pages of an old return. Pretty typical.
If you think it isn’t typical, just read this excerpt from the rest of the trial.
While O’Brien may have had “unprecedented” access to evidence of Trump’s financial position, nothing in the record suggests that such access was sufficient to permit an accurate estimate of his net worth. Further, it is indisputable that Trump’s estimates of his own worth changed substantially over time and thus failed to provide a reliable measure against which the accuracy of the information offered by the three confidential sources could be gauged. The following exchange from Trump’s deposition is illustrative of this point:
Q Now, Mr. Trump, have you always been completely truthful in your public statements about your net worth of properties?
A I try.
Q Have you ever not been truthful?
A My net worth fluctuates, and it goes up and down with markets and with attitudes and with feelings, even my own feelings, but I try.
Q Let me just understand that a little bit. Let’s talk about net worth for a second. You said that the net worth goes up and down based upon your own feelings?
A Yes, even my own feelings, as to where the world is, where the world is going, and that can change rapidly from day to day. Then you have a September 11th, and you don’t feel so good about yourself and you don’t feel so good about the world and you don’t feel so good about New York City. Then you have a year later, and the city is as hot as a pistol. Even months after that it was a different feeling.
So yeah, even my own feelings affect my value to myself.
Q When you publicly state what you’re worth, what do you base that number on?
A I would say it’s my general attitude at the time that the question may be asked. And as I say, it varies.
Further, as defendants note in their brief, other sources recognized the difficulty of estimating Trump’s net worth and the wide spread of plausible values. Defendants quote a September 9, 2004 article in The Washington Post, which stated:
Actually, it’s hard to know exactly what percent of Trump’s net worth is tied to the casino business, because most of Trump’s portfolio is in privately held companies that don’t report earnings. He’s described himself as “a billionaire many times over,” but who knows? There are skeptics out there who believe Trump has $300 million, tops. And the guy has a reputation for, let’s say, shading the news in a light that reflects his enthusiasms.
An April 12, 2004 article, published in Time magazine stated:
How rich is the Donald? To interviewers, he hints that his wealth is somewhere between $2 billion and $6 billion. Rival developers estimate it’s nowhere near even the lower figure.
The article continued by reporting on his successful redevelopment of a building at 40 Wall Street, but then balanced it with a report of his casinos “[s]wamped with debt” and the statement that “Trump has become more front man than hands-on developer.”
An older Fortune article, published on April 3, 2000, noted that
Trump delights in the sort of elaborate shell games and impenetrably complex deals that frustrate the most conscientious efforts to assess a person’s true worth. “It’s always good to do things nice and complicated,” he once told an interviewer, “so that nobody can figure it out.”
That difficulty is compounded by Trump’s astonishing ability to prevaricate․ [W]hen Trump says he owns 10% of the Plaza Hotel, understand that what he actually means is that he has the right to 10% of the profit if it’s ever sold. When he says he’s building a “90–story building” next to the U.N., he means a 72–story building that has extra-high ceilings.
And, finally, defendants point to a January 19, 2000 article in The Wall Street Journal that noted Trump’s boasts of his success but then stated:
But a look at the major sources of his wealth, including the Trump Place apartment development on New York City’s west side, the 70–story Trump World Tower project and the midtown General Motors Building, shows that several of his billions are based on profits that are far in the future—and far from guaranteed.
In summary, we find no evidence to support Trump’s conclusion that the confidential sources utilized by O’Brien were fictitious
Did the POTUS release the pages of his tax return? He seemed to have a pretty cogent response when asked about it. One that cast him as a victim to get sympathy. I’d say the odds are 50/50.
Did Rachel Maddow go overboard hyping on this issue, yeah a little. She gets overexcited sometimes, but that what happens when real journalists who’ve been starving for some truth finally find a kernel of it. Good on you, Rachel!