Virginians pay their fair share in taxes; does President Trump?
By Keya Vakil
May 16, 2019

In 2016, 82% of Tazewell County in Southwestern Virginia voted for Donald Trump. That same year, the average Tazewell resident earned $47,270 in adjusted gross income and paid an estimated $5,033 in federal income tax, assuming they filed as a head of household and took the standard deduction.

While Tazewell County residents paid their fair share, President Trump paid… well, we don’t know what he paid, because he refuses to release his tax returns. (Congressional Democrats recently issued a subpoena for them.)

Whether it’s ruby red Tazewell County, where the median household income sits at $40,309 and 18.1% of the county lives in poverty, uber-wealthy Loudoun County, where it’s $135,842 and 38.6% of voters voted for Trump, or Hampton City, where the median household income is $52,021 and only 29% of voters voted for Trump, one thing is clear: Virginians across the financial and political spectrum are probably paying more in federal income taxes than Donald Trump.

Thanks to the New York Times, we know that from 1985 to 1994, President Trump lost so much money — $1.17 billion — that he avoided paying federal income taxes for eight of the ten years.

Trump has for years branded himself as a self-made billionaire, but he appears to have lost more money than nearly any other individual American taxpayer during those years. Meanwhile, the average Virginian paid $10,863 in federal income tax for 2018, according to an estimate from

And while Republicans’ 2017 overhaul of the federal tax system moderately reduced federal income taxes for some Virginians, one estimate found that the new law would personally save Trump between $11 and $15 million per year.

We may not know what Trump paid in taxes for 2018, but if he paid anything, it was likely substantially less thanks to his own tax legislation.

He’s not the only one, either. The law also allowed 60 of America’s largest companies to zero out their federal income taxes on $79 billion in U.S. pretax income. Instead of paying $16.4 billion in taxes at the 21% corporate tax rate, these companies enjoyed a net corporate tax rebate of $4.3 billion.

Virginia’s own Dominion Energy was among these companies. The utility giant reported over $3 billion in U.S. income, but an effective tax rate of -1%, meaning they actually made money while everyday Virginians were busy paying your fair share.

What does all of this mean for Virginians?

The battle for Trump’s tax returns will continue, Republicans’ tax law will keep helping corporations while hurting many Virginians, and it’s very possible that most Virginians will continue paying more in federal income taxes than the President of the United States of America.

  • Keya Vakil

    Keya Vakil is the deputy political editor at COURIER. He previously worked as a researcher in the film industry and dabbled in the political world.

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