Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

New Evidence Donald Trump Didn’t Pay Taxes

TrumpThe Daily Beast: New Evidence Donald Trump Didn’t Pay Taxes, by David Cay Johnston:

New questions about the integrity of Donald Trump’s income tax returns, and new indications that he does not pay income taxes, arise from rulings in two tax appeals that Trump filed in the 1990s. Trump lost both cases. ...

These two decisions should prompt new calls for Trump to release his tax returns. He claims, falsely, that he cannot release his returns since 2012 because they are being audited. But a tax return is filed under penalty of perjury and releasing a return has no effect on an audit, as many tax authorities (including a former IRS commissioner) have noted.

But even accepting Trump’s specious claim, no reason exists for him to withhold his complete returns from 1980 through 2011 since by his account those audits are closed.

And to be clear, releasing just the summary of the tax return, the Form 1040, is not adequate. Trump, like all candidates as well as sitting presidents and vice presidents, should disclose his complete tax returns including every form, schedule, statement, and the worksheets so we see just how the tax liability was determined.

Congressional Republicans who are distressed about Trump’s fitness to run for president could make his tax returns public. Indeed, in the 1920s tax returns were public record and newspapers routinely reported the precise income and tax paid by prominent Americans.

Congress could simply add a one-line amendment to Section 6103 of the tax code, which makes returns confidential, providing that the nominee of any party whose name appears on the ballot in say 10 or more states will have his or her complete tax returns, for as many years as the IRS has copies, posted on the IRS website.

Such a rule would be based on an objective standard—appearing on the ballots of many states as a presidential candidate—and thus any federal court should dismiss a legal attack as unfounded with an expedited appeal to the Supreme Court.

The record in these two cases offers clear evidence that Trump, at least in these two instances, has played fast and loose with his obligations as a taxpayer. It could throw light on why he’s offered so many different explanations about why he hasn’t disclosed his complete tax returns at least through the year 2011.

The facts in the two appeals could arguably be construed as evidence of calculated tax fraud, a felony. They certainly cry out for disclosure because, as Richard Nixon told us, Americans should know to a certainty that their president is no crook.

(Hat Tip: Jordan Barry.)

Political News, Tax | Permalink


It is a complete outrage that the media--MSM, right-wing, and otherwise--has not hammered this every day, all day.

As for you Mr. treeamigo, the answer is "yes," and they are. Forms 990 are publicly available.

Posted by: Publius Novus | Jun 16, 2016 9:48:56 AM

In no way am I ever going to vote for Trump, but I can completely understand the not releasing any returns under audit. If he is under audit, his attorneys and accountants merely have to convince the IRS team of the return being correct. If he releases the returns, the IRS team gets substantially bigger as every tax attorney, academic, etc will be offering their $0.02. No reason exists on making life easier for the auditors.

Posted by: Daniel | Jun 16, 2016 5:40:40 AM

Trump makes personal attacks, so let's make our whole campaign a series of personal attacks against him

Posted by: mike livingston | Jun 16, 2016 2:01:04 AM

Should the full disclosure rule apply to charitable foundations run by a Presidential candidate? Funny that wasn't mentioned.
If anyone of progressive leanings is going to dig into the abuse of tax-exempt foundation status by the Clintons it will be David Cay Johnston. He is, after all, the one who first shed light on Lois Lerner's planting of a question and prepared answer at that tax law conference:

Posted by: AMTbuff | Jun 15, 2016 6:00:05 PM

Should the full disclosure rule apply to charitable foundations run by a Presidential candidate? Funny that wasn't mentioned. And does anyone think the IRS let's high profile tycoons like Trump get away with cheating on taxes? He has been audited before and knows he will be audited again. He pays the taxes that his accountants say he owes and not a penny more.

Posted by: Treeamigo | Jun 15, 2016 3:59:14 PM