Biden Releases 2019 Tax Return Prior to Debate With Trump

Biden Releases 2019 Tax Return Prior to Debate With Trump
Democratic presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign speech in Manitowoc, Wis., Sept. 21, 2020. (Mark Makela/Reuters)
Tom Ozimek

Democratic nominee Joe Biden released his 2019 tax return on Tuesday, just hours before his debate against President Donald Trump, seeking to draw a contrast with the president, who has sought to keep his tax returns private.

“The American people deserve transparency from their leaders, it’s why as of today, I’ve released 22 years of my tax returns,” Biden said in a statement on Twitter.
According to the 2019 state and federal tax return of Biden and his wife, Jill Biden (pdf), shows that they reported $944,737 in taxable income last year and paid $299,346 in federal income taxes, at a rate of 31 percent.
Biden’s move comes days after The New York Times published a report on more than a decade of Trump’s tax returns, allegedly obtained from an undisclosed source. According to the report, Trump paid $1 million for 2016 and $4.2 million for 2017 in individual federal income taxes, while in 10 of the 15 previous years, the president paid no taxes because of business losses that allowed him to reduce his tax obligations.

Trump denounced the New York Times report as “fake news.” In a tweet on Monday, he complained the newspaper obtained his tax returns “illegally” and then reported on them with “only bad intent.”

The New York Times said it obtained the two decades of tax returns from sources it said had legal access to the documents. The newspaper declined to provide the documents to the Trump Organization.

The Epoch Times reached out to The New York Times for comment regarding its report but has not received a reply.

Alan Garten, a lawyer for the Trump Organization, told the New York Times that “most, if not all” of the information about the tax returns appears to be inaccurate, adding that Trump paid “millions in personal taxes since announcing his candidacy in 2015,” while over the past 10 years, he paid “tens of millions of dollars in personal taxes to the federal government.”

“I paid many millions of dollars in taxes but was entitled, like everyone else, to depreciation & tax credits,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “I am extremely under leveraged—I have very little debt compared to the value of assets.”
The president told reporters at a briefing on Sept. 27 that he’s unable to release his financial records because he is being audited by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), insisting that he paid a considerable amount of taxes over the years.

“First of all, I paid a lot,” he said. “I paid a lot of state income taxes too. New York state charges a lot.”

News outlets and various Democratic officials at the state and federal level have tried to obtain Trump’s tax returns over the past four years.

Democrats in the House of Representatives have sued the president in a quest for the tax returns. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.), who has tried unsuccessfully to obtain Trump’s tax records, said The New York Times report makes it even more essential for his committee to get the documents.

“Now Donald Trump is the boss of the agency he considers an adversary. It is essential that the IRS’s presidential audit program remain free of interference,” Neal wrote.

A substantial amount of interest about the president’s tax returns was centered on whether they'd reveal a connection to Russia. The New York Times found no such connection.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told Fox News on Sept. 28 that Democrats are replaying “the same playbook they tried in 2016—the same playbook that the American people rejected and will do so again.”

Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris also released her 2019 tax return, filed jointly with her husband (pdf).
Jack Phillips, Ivan Pentchoukov, and Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.