Donald Trump refused to release his federal income tax forms during his successful run for the presidency, leaving voters to wonder how much he earned and how much in federal taxes he paid.
But thanks to Florida’s open records laws — and an unusual tweet from the Palm Beach County Tax Collector’s Office — the world knows that Trump paid property taxes Monday on real estate he owns in Palm Beach County.
The president-elect coughed up a combined $190,667.73 for three pieces of real estate he owns in the county, including the lavish Mar-A-Lago compound on Palm Beach. Mar-A-Lago was responsible for $146,927.03 of that 2016 tax bill.
By paying the bills before the end of November, Trump qualified for a 4 percent discount — a point the tax collector’s office (@TAXPBC) pointed out in a tweet that read: “President Elect @realDonaldTrump paid #PalmBeach property tax bills today, in time for 4% Nov. payment discount http://ow.ly/NYTy306BsOm.”
Property taxes become delinquent on April 1. Those who pay by the end of November receive a 4 percent discount. That discount drops to 3 percent for those who pay by the end of December. It goes down to 2 percent for those who pay by the end of January and to 1 percent for those who pay by the end of February.
The tweet included a link to the tax collector’s web site, which allows visitors to type in the name of a property owner and learn how much that person paid in property taxes. Such information is public in Florida, but it is unusual for the tax collector’s office to notify the public when an individual property owner has paid his or her taxes.
Of course, the county hasn’t before been the part-time home of the president-elect of the United States since John F. Kennedy won in 1960.
Palm Beach County Tax Collector Anne Gannon, a Democrat, was a supporter of former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whom Trump defeated. Gannon attended the Democratic Party’s national convention in Philadelphia, where she rounded up votes for Clinton.
Gannon said her support of Clinton had nothing to do with her decision to tweet out that Trump had paid his taxes.
“I think it’s fair game,” she said of the tweet. “He is, after all, president-elect of the United States. If (President) Obama was in my county and paid his taxes, I’d tweet that out, too.”
And later in response to a Palm Beach Post editor’s tweet about the original tweet, @TAXPBC tweeted, “@paulblythe @realDonaldTrump Regardless of political affiliation, we encourage all PBC property owners to pay early and pay online.”
Trump hasn’t always agreed with the assessment of his properties in Palm Beach County, which, until a couple weeks ago, he was suing regarding Palm Beach International Airport flight paths over Mar-a-Lago.
In the past, Trump, like other taxpayers, has availed himself of the assessment appeals process overseen by the value adjustment board. Given that Trump has already paid his taxes, it is unlikely that he appealed the assessment of his properties.