Paul L. Caron

Thursday, August 8, 2019

My Taxes (And Donald Trump's) Are None of Your Business

Alan B. Morrison (George Washington), My Taxes Are None of Your Business:

One of the underlying principles of our income tax laws is that our tax returns are kept secret and only those who have a legitimate need to know can see them. However, some of the efforts to enable Congress, and perhaps everyone else, to see the tax returns of private citizen Donald J. Trump, may threaten that principle, not just for him, but for everyone else.

Let me be clear: I have no sympathy for Trump and oppose virtually everything he has done as president. He was also dishonest with the voters when he claimed that only federal tax audits kept him from releasing his returns during the presidential campaign.

I also recognize that, although the Internal Revenue Code and, until recently, the New York tax laws, contain very strong protections against public disclosure, Trump has a basis for his fear that his returns and those of many of his companies may show up soon on the internet. ...

[M]y tax returns are none of your business, unless you have a good reason to see them, as does the Ways & Means Committee. The courts should insist that the committee adhere to that principle as a condition of obtaining the Trump returns, leaving open the possibility that the committee can convince the court that there is a legitimate reason why those returns—like those of the rest of us—should not remain secret.

Congress could, of course, change the law and direct the IRS to make public the tax returns of future U. S. presidents, or even candidates for president or Congress, if they do not do so in a timely manner. Everyone who ran for those offices would know the rules in advance, unlike Trump who can legitimately claim that the rules on public disclosure are being changed to single out him for special unfavorable treatment and may violate the prohibition on bills of attainder in Article I, section 9, clause 3 of the Constitution.

Just because he broke his promise to make them public on his own, is not a reason for making his returns public, and all of us have a stake in seeing that his privacy is protected.

Tax, Tax News | Permalink


If some really disturbing things are unearthed from Trump's taxes or other financial records, I hope those otherwise reasonable people who opposed disclosure will reconsider whether they ever should have supported financial privacy for a sitting President.

Posted by: Andrew Dhuey | Aug 13, 2019 11:08:22 AM

I would like to see Obama's college transcript and application and Michelle's thesis, but I don't have a right to them. Tax returns need to be confidential or there will be more lying on them.

Posted by: Joe Mack | Aug 8, 2019 6:45:04 PM

Why does everyone who writes a positive comment about President Trump always have to tell you they don’t like this or that. We don’t care what you think about him other then choir first comment.

Posted by: Mary Scarda | Aug 8, 2019 8:59:28 AM