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News Wednesday, May 11 2016

Donald Trump's Tax Audit Excuse Is A Lie. What's He Hiding?

May 11, 2016

For the first time since 1976 a major presidential candidate, Donald Trump, says he will not make his tax returns public before election day. And his primary excuse for not doing so is a lie.

Trump at first claimed he couldn’t release them due to an IRS audit, a claim since debunked by the IRS and others. The fact is Trump can release his tax returns whenever he wants to.

This is a dramatic change for Trump, who’s over the years said it’s incumbent on presidential candidates to release their returns:

Now, ever-the-hypocrite — and perhaps because he has something to hide — Trump is now refusing to follow through on his own promises and advice.

Here’s how the IRS and several tax experts have responded to Trump’s refusal to release his returns:

“Federal privacy rules prohibit the IRS from discussing individual tax matters. Nothing prevents individuals from sharing their own tax information.” 

— IRS Statement on Trump’s tax returns [Huffington Post, 2/26/16]

“I’m not sure why that prevents [Trump] from releasing his returns. They are his to release.” 

— Stanford Law Professor Joseph Bankman [Politico, 2/26/16]

Well, bravo for Mr. Trump [that his 2002 to 2008 audits were finished]! That’s a great result! And if that’s the case, certainly one would say, why wouldn’t you release those returns?” 

— Former IRS Commissioner Mark Everson [Washington Post, 4/1/16]

I think 40 years of tradition carries real moral and ethical weight…It is quite striking that a major candidate would decide not to release their tax information — especially someone with an admittedly complex tax situation.”

— Dr. Joseph Thorndike, director of the Tax History Project [New York Times, 5/11/16]

“Trump has explained his failure to release by saying that his returns are under audit by the IRS. He seems to think that’s a real excuse, but it’s not. There is no legal bar to releasing a tax return while it’s being audited, as the IRS has confirmed.”

— Dr. Joseph Thorndike, director of the Tax History Project [Forbes, 4/5/16]

Published: May 11, 2016

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