There have been questions about former President Donald Trump’s wealth and taxes for decades. Trump has long claimed he is an extremely wealthy businessman, building a personality and a brand on this narrative.

He spent years protecting that image — keeping his business dealings, net worth, and the share of his money that went to government away from public view.

That long endeavor could come to an end on Tuesday, when the House Ways and Means Committee decides whether to release years of Trump’s tax returns.

Some advisers are worried about the potential release and what may be in unreleased documents, especially as his recently launched third presidential run fell through.

Others believe that Trump will be able to spin any shortfall as he “games the system.” Either way, Trump faces one of his biggest fears: public scrutiny of his finances.

Trump’s tax returns have always been central to his political career. As soon as 2011when Trump toyed with a future presidential race, Trump said he could release his taxes, if President Obama then released his birth certificate.

Two sources close to Trump said they believe he will not run for office, given the financial scrutiny.

During his candidacy for the presidency of 2016, Trump claimed he would release his taxes, but was undergoing a “routine” audit and could only do so after it was completed. He became the first president in modern history to refuse to do so.

Two years later, amid calls to make his tax returns public, Trump said his tax return was “gross” and “complex” and “people wouldn’t understand it.”

In 2019, Trump was forced to turn over some of his tax returns to New York investigators. Former Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. investigated Trump and his business dealings for years.

In 2020, the New York Times obtained two decades of Trump’s tax returns and found that Trump paid just $750 in federal taxes in 2016 and 2017 and hadn’t paid any income tax since then. less than 10 years. The Times also concluded that Trump faces “hundreds of millions of dollars in debt ahead. The report enraged Trump who claimed it was “fake news”.

The only details about Trump’s taxes to become public emerged during testimony last month in his real estate company’s criminal tax evasion trial when a prosecutor turned over part of Trump’s taxes to a witness.

Trump’s longtime accountant testified that Trump reported losses on his personal tax returns every year from 2011 to 2018.

In two years, his losses totaled almost a billion dollars. The former president’s personal tax return in 2010 reported losses of nearly $200 million and in 2009 those losses totaled about $700 million, the accountant said.

The House Ways and Means Committee first sought feedback from Trump in 2019 as part of an evaluation of the IRS program that audits presidents. Trump sued to stop the publication and ultimately the Supreme Court unanimously denied his request to block the committee from obtaining his records.

Ever since Trump was a young real estate mogul, rumors swirled that he wasn’t as wealthy as he projected. Earlier this year, New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a civil lawsuit against Trump, his children and Trump Org, alleging that their investigation had “uncovered the fact that Donald Trump and the Trump Organization engaged in a major fraud to inflate his personal net worth”. by billions of dollars to get rich illegally and cheat the system. The Trump Org was found guilty of a tax evasion scheme earlier this month.

Trump is the most politically vulnerable he has been in years. Today’s decision, coupled with tomorrow’s release of transcripts, which are likely to be negative, could push him deeper into the hole as he prepares to begin his 2024 political campaign in earnest the first week of January.

CNN’s Kara Scannell contributed reporting for this post.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *