Trump Won't Release Tax Returns Before Election
If you’re waiting for Donald Trump to release his income tax returns to the public, don’t hold your breath. It likely won’t be happening until after the election.
The presumptive Republican nominee for the presidency has steadfastly declined to reveal the returns, despite repeated calls to do so from his GOP challengers during the campaign and Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. The billionaire mogul, who has been a prominent figure in the casino business and the face of the TV reality show, “The Celebrity Apprentice,” cites ongoing IRS audits of his returns as the reason for the refusal.
In an interview with the Associated Press (AP) on May 10, Trump continued to stand his ground. “There's nothing to learn from them," Trump told the AP. He added that he doesn't believe that the voters have any interest in the returns anyway.
Furthermore, Trump states that he is under no obligation to release his returns, although it’s been standard operating procedure for candidates since President Richard Nixon did so, while under audit, and Gerald Ford followed suit upon attaining the Presidency. Every presidential nominee of the two major political parties have released their returns since. The tax returns of most modern presidents is available at http://www.efile.com/1040-federal-income-tax-forms-for-every-tax-year-and-tax-return-history/.
Both Clinton and her main challenger, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, have opened up their tax documents for public inspection (Clinton's Returns | Sanders' 2014 Return). Despite the added pressure, Trump says he won’t follow suit until the audits are wrapped up, claiming he is following the advice of his legal team. He won’t budge -- even if the audits aren’t concluded before November.
“Now, I hope it gets finished soon. And if it gets finished soon, I put it out immediately because there's nothing there. But until you get finished, you won't," the business mogul said. He reiterated his position on Twitter the next day. “"In interview I told @AP that my taxes are under routine audit and I would release my tax returns when audit is complete, not after election!"
The disclosure of tax returns was also a political hot potato four years ago when Republican nominee Mitt Romney held back his returns before caving in just two months before the election. Romney was accused of not paying any taxes for years by squeezing through loopholes in the tax law, although perfectly legal. Ultimately, the issue wasn’t considered a major factor in his losing bid.
Now Romney is speculating that there Trump may be hiding a "bombshell of unusual size.“ with his stance. “It is disqualifying for a modern-day presidential nominee to refuse to release tax returns to the voters, especially one who has not been subject to public scrutiny in either military or public service," wrote Romney in a Facebook post on May 11. He went on to say, “Tax returns provide the public with its sole confirmation of the veracity of a candidate's representations regarding charities, priorities, wealth, tax conformance, and conflicts of interest.
Further, while not a likely circumstance, the potential for hidden inappropriate associations with foreign entities, criminal organizations, or other unsavory groups is simply too great a risk to ignore for someone who is seeking to become commander-in-chief.”
Romney also claims that there’s nothing legally preventing Trump from releasing tax returns that are under audit. He also points out that the candidate could easily release returns for the years just prior to those being audited. For his part, Trump maintains that the audits go back longer than a decade.
You can expect the noise surrounding this issue to get even louder as the battle lines are drawn. However, at least for the time being, Trump is sticking to his guns. Source: CPA Practice Advisor.