WASHINGTON — Democratic nominee Joe Biden said during the last presidential debate Thursday night that America has learned from a New York Times report President Donald Trump paid only $750 a year in federal taxes while holding “a secret bank account" in China.
The former vice president then noted he’s released all of his tax returns going back 22 years and challenged the president to release his returns, saying, “What are you hiding?”
Trump said he closed his former account in China and claimed his accountants told him he “prepaid tens of millions of dollars” in taxes. However, as he has for the past four years after promising to release his taxes, he declined to say when he might do so.
Biden and Trump were arguing over their tax returns and other issues during their second debate before the Nov. 3 election.
Responding to unfounded allegations from Trump during Thursday night’s debate that he’s received funds from Russian sources, Biden said his taxes show “I have not taken a penny from any foreign source ever in my life.”
Pointing his finger at Trump, Biden told Trump to “release your tax returns or stop talking about corruption.”
Trump responded that he would like to release his returns “as soon as we can” but reiterated his excuse that he’s under audit, a claim he’s made since he first ran for president in 2016. The president is not actually barred from releasing the documents while they’re under audit.
Trump also responded to the news that he paid just $750 in taxes in 2017, claiming that he was told he “prepaid tens of millions of dollars,” and that the $750 he paid was a “filing fee.”
But Biden again called on Trump to release proof. “Show us,” Biden said. “Stop playing around.”
Trump on his taxes: “They keep talking about $750, which I think is a filing fee. ... Tens of millions of dollars (in income taxes) I prepaid.” On his China bank account: “I was a businessman in 2013 and I closed the account in 2015.”
THE FACTS: Trump is not being honest about his taxes.
Reporting by The New York Times, which obtained his tax records, contradicts his claims.
The IRS does not charge taxpayers a filing fee, though tax preparation services do. The $750 that Trump paid in 2016 and 2017 in the income taxes was to the federal government, not a tax preparation service.
It’s not clear what Trump is talking about with regard to prepaying his taxes, but what matters is what he ultimately owed the government.
Americans often have their income tax payments deducted from their paychecks. The Times reported that Trump, starting in 2010, claimed and received an income tax refund that totaled $72.9 million, which was at the core of an ongoing audit by the IRS. The Times said a ruling against Trump could cost him $100 million or more.
Nor did Trump close his Chinese bank account, according to Alan Garten, a lawyer for Trump’s company. He told the Times that the account remains open, though the company’s office in China has been inactive since 2015.