If you’re an American, odds are you’ve heard the news that presidential candidate Donald Trump has refused to show his tax returns to the American people.
This refusal comes despite precedent from other recent presidents and a petition from over 200,000 Americans who want to take a look at them.
The American public is becoming increasingly frustrated with Mr. Trump’s unwillingness to cooperate with their requests,
and it’s unclear how long he can keep up this charade before it comes crashing down on him.
In this blog post we’ll explore what exactly a tax return is and why voters seem so interested in seeing Mr. Trump’s.
We’ll also debunk some common misconceptions and cover why this isn’t a partisan issue.
What is a Tax Return?
A tax return is just what it sounds like, the government gives you money,
then you give them a piece of paper with the numbers on it that proves that you paid your taxes.
The tax return is essentially proof for the government that you did your civic duty and paid the taxes you owed,
no one else knows what’s on it except for yourself or whoever prepared your return, and (generally) only if you’re audited will anyone else ever see it.
Why is Trump Not Sharing his?
Trump has released a financial disclosure form and a letter from his tax lawyer, both of which show that Trump’s accounts are under audit by the IRS.
The IRS won’t release anyone’s tax information to unauthorized personnel while they’re audited, so he can’t just forward copies to the American people.
There are also questions about if this letter is even valid when compared to federal election law that instructs nominees to provide their tax information upon request.
If What He Says is True, Why Would He not Release Them?
Trump claims that he wants an IRS audit so he can keep his returns private and prevent any political opponents from attacking him for them.
If he doesn’t get one, he can release them. The IRS has questioned this reasoning though, because candidates are required
to maintain their non-profit status as a 501(c)(3) which is a privilege that comes with certain requirements for disclosure.
So if Mr. Trump wants to keep his returns private, there is nothing preventing him from
voluntarily re-filing them under 501(c)(4) in which case they would no longer be subject to audit or public release.
Trump also claims that he cannot release the documents because he is being audited for two years of returns,
but in fact it would only require one year of tax information to prove this claim since audits generally cover three years of tax data.
Why are People Taking This as a First Issue?
As a nation, we have a long tradition of showing our tax information to the public for non-political purposes.
The first was President Harry Truman who released his tax returns in 1950 and in doing so proved
that he was indeed paying his fair share which had been questioned by the public.
He has subsequently been followed by every president since, but last year Hillary Clinton said
she wouldn’t release them because “most people don’t care.” With more interest in politics than ever before, it’s hard to imagine why this would be so.
What Does Trump Have to Hide?
It is actually very hard to believe that Mr. Trump could be hiding something so easily disproved by pointing to his father’s tax filings.
The only thing that makes sense is that he’s hiding something particularly nefarious,
like questionable business practices or possibly other crimes.
The more people say they want to see them, the more likely it is that there’s something truly interesting to see in Trump’s returns.
How Can Trump Show That He Won’t Have Conflicts of Interest?
It is hard to imagine a way for any candidate to show conclusively that they will support their country
even if it conflicts with their personal interests without letting the public look at how much money they make and where it comes from
Why Do So Many Great Americans Think He Should?
Even Republican leaders like John McCain, Mitt Romney and George Bush Sr. have called for Trump to release his tax returns.
The reason for this is that we need to know how he will be able to show the American people
if he should win the election that he won’t put the interest of America over his own,
which is a very serious concern considering how much influence Mr. Trump has over foreign policy and sway over issues that affect all of us on a global scale.
What is Trump Hiding?
Americans demand to know why Donald Trump won’t release his tax returns because they’re concerned that there is something in them they’re not allowed to see.