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Trump’s taxes: Red flags, big losses and a windfall from his father

Donald Trump

At first glance, the income-tax data released this week by a U.S. House committee seems to show a turnaround in 2018 for former U.S. President Donald Trump. After a decade in which he declared no taxable income, his 2018 return reported taxable income of more than $24 million. He paid nearly $1 million in federal income taxes.

In fact, his year in the black appears to have resulted largely from the final windfall of the vast inheritance that financed much of his business career — more than $14 million in gains from the sale of his father’s 1970s investment in the housing development of Starrett City in the New York City borough of Brooklyn.

But precedent soon reasserted itself. Because of business losses, he paid no income taxes in 2020, his last year in the White House.