EXCLUSIVE: 2020 Dem Andrew Yang releases tax returns

Greg Nash

Democratic White House hopeful Andrew Yang released eight years of his tax returns Wednesday ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Yang released the returns for 2011 to 2018, the period after he created Venture for America, which offers two-year fellowships to help recent college graduates work at startups. The returns don’t include the period when he worked at a series of startups. Yang filed the tax returns jointly with his wife, Evelyn, whom he married in 2011.

The Yang campaign told The Hill that it decided to release Yang’s tax returns starting in 2011 because the founding of Venture for America was “a good milestone in his timeline.”

Yang’s 2018 federal tax return reported adjusted gross income of $121,418 and total taxes of $16,581, for an effective tax rate of 13.7 percent. Much of his income came from his writing and speaking, capital gains, and income from rental real estate and royalties.

Yang claimed the standard deduction at the federal level for 2018 but itemized his deductions on his New York state tax return. The state tax return reported charitable contributions of $4,186.

2018 was the first year people filed their taxes under President Trump’s tax cut law. Tony Nitti, a partner at the accounting firm RubinBrown, said that Yang appears to have paid less in taxes for 2018 than he would have under the old tax law. Yang benefited from provisions in Trump’s tax law such as the lower rates, larger standard deduction and deduction for income from noncorporate businesses, Nitti said.

In most years during the 2011 to 2018 period, Yang reported adjusted gross income of between $100,000 and $300,000. He didn’t report any income from wages and salaries for 2018, but a sizable amount of his income came from wages and salaries in the prior years, before he stepped down from Venture for America in 2017.

The year when he reported the highest adjusted gross income was 2016, when he reported adjusted gross income of $354,484.

The amount of Yang’s charitable contributions varied considerably from year to year. For 2011, he reported charitable contributions of $126,404, and for 2013, he reported charitable contributions of $62,362. But in several other years, he reported contributions of less than $5,000. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year that Yang gave Venture for America $121,000 in 2011.

Yang’s 2012 tax return reported $5,000 in donations of clothing and shoes to the nonprofit Housing Works. The document reported that Yang and his wife purchased the clothing and shoes for $50,000 and donated them at a value of 10 percent of the cost.

“Andrew Yang’s tax returns show what America has come to know about him. He’s an entrepreneur at heart while trying to balance the financial interests of his family,” Yang campaign national press secretary S.Y. Lee told The Hill.

“Since leaving his job at Venture for America to run for president almost two years ago, he has devoted his time and energy to travel across our country to talk with voters and build a grassroots movement that has him now among one of the front-runners for the Democratic nomination,” Lee added.

After graduating from Columbia Law School in 2000, Yang worked on a series of startups for more than five years. He then went on to work at test preparation company Manhattan Prep, which he ultimately led and helped sell to Kaplan. He later founded Venture for America in 2011 and announced his White House bid in 2017.

Many of the other Democratic presidential candidates have already released their tax returns — particularly the top-polling candidates. Aside from Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), Yang is the last of the candidates who appeared at last week’s debate to make his or her tax returns public.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), another White House contender, has released 10 years of her tax returns, but the documents, which cover 2008 to 2018, do not include a significant portion of time during which she was doing legal consulting.

A notable candidate who has yet to release his tax returns is former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a billionaire who entered the race only days ago. Bloomberg’s campaign has said that he will release his tax returns.

President Trump in 2016 became the first presidential nominee of a major party in decades to not release his own tax returns. He has claimed that he hasn’t released the files because he is under audit, but the IRS has said audits do not prevent individuals from publicizing their own tax information.

House Democrats are now waging a court battle with the administration to obtain the president’s tax returns, arguing they need to see the documents to evaluate the IRS’s policy of conducting mandatory audits of presidents.

Updated at 7:38 p.m.

Tags Andrew Yang Donald Trump Elizabeth Warren Michael Bloomberg Tulsi Gabbard

The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.

See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video