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Trump's Taxes Revealed: New Prez Paid More Than Critics Mitt Romney & Bernie Sanders

Mar. 15 2017, Updated 12:11 p.m. ET

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The world was shocked Tuesday night when Rachel Maddow revealed she had obtained Donald Trump's tax returns on her MSNBC show.

The 2005 document was originally obtained by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Cay Johnston, who received it from an unknown source in his mail box, according to Maddow.

Trump's taxes showed that the new president earned $253 million that year, writing off $103 million in losses.

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"You know you are desperate for ratings when you're prepared to violate the law to push a story about tax returns from over a decade ago," the White House told CNN in response to the release. "The dishonest media can continue to make this part of their agenda, while the President will focus on his, which includes tax reform that will benefit all Americans."

Interestingly, MSNBC's confirmation revealed that Trump made more money than some of his nay-sayers, dishing out a hefty effective income tax rate — 24.2% — head and shoulders above the 14.1% rate paid by Mitt Romney, and even higher than the 13.5% federal tax rate paid by Bernie Sanders in 2014.

As Radar previously reported, Trump was just a kid from Queens who rose to prominence as a business mogul in the 1970s. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in 1968, he gained control of his father, Fred Trump's, construction and real estate firm. Soon the young entrepreneur was trading in massive amounts of cash and conducting major deals.

Trump disclosed his federal income taxes from that period as part of his application for a New Jersey casino license in 1981.

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Records uncovered by Radar reveal that from 1975 to 1977, Trump earned an average annual income of $140,314 ($557,674 in 2016 dollars). At the time, the average annual income was dramatically less — only about $9,000.

Though critics have accused Trump of not paying federal taxes, his tax filings show otherwise. During this period, Trump's filings reveal he paid an average of $23,977 ($95,296 in 2016 dollars) in federal taxes per year — an average rate of roughly 17%.

Of course, others pointed out that the documents from Maddow's big reveal included the stamp "Client Copy," a puzzling twist to the story.

The stamp indicates either Trump shared the copy himself, or an anonymous leaker had access to it, New York based CPA Michael Markiewicz told TheWrap.

"This is Donald's copy. Any time there is a client copy, that goes to client, it's for them to keep," he said. "I'd say 99 of a hundred times that is true. If it says 'client copy' it's the client's copy."

"It's very likely that the person or persons who leaked it is either Trump himself or someone close to him," Markiewicz added. "Otherwise who would have the client copy?"

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