Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York disclosed her 2018 tax returns on Wednesday and Fox Business host Charles Payne said the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate benefited from President Donald Trump's tax reform.
Gillibrand became the first 2020 presidential candidate to unveil her 2018 returns, which revealed how she fared following Trump’s 2017 tax overhaul. Gillibrand, who criticized Trump’s sweeping tax law in the past, reportedly got a significant tax cut.
Payne said what is “really interesting” is just what exactly the Democratic senator benefited from, calling it a “cautionary tale for Americans.”
“The alternative minimum tax,” he said. “She was able to write off $10,000 as she would have to pay on this tax,” Payne said on America’s Newsroom Thursday.
The alternative minimum tax (AMT) was designed to keep wealthy taxpayers from using loopholes to avoid paying taxes. In 2017, Trump and the GOP changed the AMT rules through the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The maximum AMT rate dropped from 39.6 percent to 28 percent, according to CNBC. The tax law also increased the exemption on income not subject to the AMT.
Payne talked about the history of the tax referencing an article which said about 154 families in America who paid no tax in the 1960s. “People lost their minds, how dare them not pay anything?” Payne said. The Fox Business host added the alternative minimum tax was created to get that money from the people who didn’t pay any taxes.
“Guess what? It was an index for inflation so the number was $200,000. Well, you can imagine decades later, millions and millions and millions of Americans getting slammed on AMT taxes because the initiative, really, was to take out the pitchforks and the torches and get those rich people not paying their fair share,” Payne said.
Gillibrand reported an adjusted gross income last year of just over $214,000, with nearly $168,000 coming from her Senate salary and most of the remainder from her book deal.
The senator paid $29,710 in federal taxes, for an effective tax rate of 13.6 percent.
The 2020 hopeful urged her rivals to follow in her footsteps and make their returns public, as Democrats continue to slam Trump for not releasing his returns during his 2016 presidential run.
“Join me in calling on every presidential candidate to disclose their taxes. This is what transparency and accountability is all about,” Gillibrand said in a video.
Presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, has promised to release 10 years of his tax returns but hasn’t done so yet. He said he will make the returns public “soon.”
Another White House contender, Sen. Elizabeth Warren highlighted that she has released the past decade of her tax returns and like Gillibrand, has urged the other candidates to do the same.
The Massachusetts Democrat has yet to release her 2018 returns. Her campaign told Fox News she will, once she files her 2018 returns.
The tax filing season doesn’t end until April 15.
Trump broke with decades of tradition by not releasing his tax filings during his 2016 Republican presidential campaign. Trump argued he couldn't release his taxes because he was under an audit by the Internal Revenue Service, but being under audit is no legal bar to a candidate from disclosing taxes.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.