The White House says President Donald Trump made more than $150 million in income in 2005 and paid $38 million in income taxes that year.
The acknowledgement comes as MSNBC host Rachel Maddow says she has obtained part of Trump's 2005 tax forms.
The White House is pushing back pre-emptively, saying that publishing those returns would be illegal.
It says, "You know you are desperate for ratings when you are willing to violate the law to push a story about two pages of tax returns from over a decade ago."
The White House adds that it is "totally illegal to steal and publish tax returns" and is bashing the "dishonest media."
Trump refused to release his tax returns during the campaign, claiming he was under audit.
© 2017 Associated Press