The New York Times on Sunday published the first in a series of stories based on President Donald Trump’s tax returns, citing tax documents and data spanning two decades.
One of the more notable revelations from the report was that Trump didn’t pay taxes or paid very little in taxes for several years. The Times reported that Trump paid just $750 in taxes while campaigning for president in 2016 and $750 in taxes during his first year in office.
Trump tweeted Monday that he “paid many millions of dollars in taxes but was entitled, like everyone else, to depreciation & tax credits,” suggesting he used tax laws to help lower his taxes.
Assuming he was able to reduce his tax bill to under $1,000 in 2017, here’s how Trump’s taxes compare to other recent presidents during their first years in office, based on NewsyBag research:
How do the 2017 tax returns of the 2020 Democratic and Republican presidential nominees and their running mates stack up?
We had to change the scale again or else you would be scrolling a lot longer to reach the amount Joe Biden paid on his 2017 taxes. Each square is equal to $750.
Roughly 85 million “tax units” — or about half of the United States — had tax bills bigger than $750 in 2017, according to the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. A tax unit is roughly equivalent to one household. About 73 million tax units paid zero taxes that year, the center said.
“I’m fairly confident that most Americans who are earning any kind of income are indeed paying more than $750 in taxes. No question in my mind about that,” said Donald Williamson, Professor of Accounting and Taxation at American University.
Consider the difference between what Trump reportedly paid in taxes 2017 to the what a doctor or police officer (married with two children and filing jointly) might have paid that year. We’re using the current $24,000 standard deduction for simplicity.