Trump says he won't release tax returns

WASHINGTON -- Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump is sticking to his new explanation for why he can't yet release copies of his recent tax returns: The IRS is auditing him, as Trump says it has for the last 12 years.

See Full Article

"Until my audit is finished, you're not going to see anything," Trump said Friday, adding that he believes the government has unfairly targeted his returns. "I'm not going to complicate things."

Tax experts say that explanation has them scratching their heads -- emboldening Trump critics who argue that the celebrity businessman-turned-candidate's personal finances remain unexamined.

During Thursday's debate, Trump predicted what anyone reviewing his tax returns would find: "nothing, nothing." But the odds of being randomly audited every year for a decade is vanishingly small -- and Trump's statement that "four or five" years of his tax returns are actively being audited raised even more questions. The IRS's normal statute of limitations for an audit is three years -- though that time frame is extended in instances of substantial underreporting and there is no time limit on reviews in the event of fraud.

The Trump campaign did not respond to questions from the AP about why the IRS would be auditing his tax returns past the normal three year period. At the Christie endorsement event, Trump ignored questions from a reporter on why he would keep private earlier returns not at risk of audit.

With both Ted Cruz and Rubio having pledged to release their own returns -- an invariably unpleasant rite of passage for every major party nominee since 1976 -- Trump will soon stand alone among the major Republican candidates in having not yet produced them. And, despite Trump's claims to the contrary, the last Republican nominee -- Mitt Romney -- had long since released two years of tax returns by this time in the 2012 cycle.

Romney has speculated that a "bombshell" is lurking in Trump's returns -- perhaps indications of trouble in his business empire. And Cruz --who normally boasts of his plans to dismantle the IRS -- declared that "the voters need to know" if the government is homing in on possible wrongdoing.

Given the complex matrix of partnerships and business structures disclosed on Trump's filings with the Federal Election Commission, the scope of information available through Trump's personal tax returns is difficult to predict. But the nature of Trump's charitable endeavours, his effective tax rate and the underlying profitability of his business operations would all likely loom large. Similar questions dogged Romney until late in the general election -- suggesting that the focus on Trump's taxes may not quickly abate.

"If you are not prepared for this level of scrutiny of your financial affairs, you should rethink your vocational choice," said Joseph Thorndike, a tax historian and contributing editor to Tax Analysts, an accounting trade publication. "This one doesn't go away."

If Donald Trump has been audited for a dozen years straight, Trump would be certainly right to think that the process isn't random. According to statistics published by the IRS, between 2005 and 2013, audit rates for earners bringing in more than $1 million faced ranged between 5 per cent and 12 per cent a year.

"Why am I audited every single year?" Donald Trump asked at a press conference Friday, insinuating unfair scrutiny of his taxes began under the Bush administration.

But regular audits wouldn't necessarily be a sign of anything more than the complexity of Trump's tax returns, Thorndike said: "No one claims it's a lottery."

There is no way to independently verify if Trump is in fact the subject to numerous active audits. But Thorndike said tax attorneys he's spoken with are generally sympathetic to the desire not to make tax returns public while they're being audited.

"If the returns are out there, then no one can hide -- the taxpayer can't hide, and the authorities can't hide," Thorndike said.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Putin critic shot dead in Ukraine

    World News Toronto Sun
    KIEV, Ukraine — A former Russian lawmaker Denis Voronenkov was shot and killed in Kyiv Thursday in what the Ukrainian president described as an “act of state terrorism” by Russia. President Petro Poroshenko said Voronenkov’s killing “clearly shows the handwriting of Russian special services shown repeatedly in various European capitals in the past. Source
  • IRA chief, peacemaker McGuinness to be laid to rest in Derry

    World News CTV News
    DUBLIN - The Northern Ireland city of Londonderry is filling with mourners for the funeral of former IRA commander and Sinn Fein deputy leader Martin McGuinness, who helped lead his militant movement to compromise with British Protestants. Source
  • Video shows Romanian woman plunge into River Thames during London terror attack [Photos] [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    Romanian officials say a woman who plunged into the River Thames when a man plowed into pedestrians with an SUV on London’s Westminster Bridge was a Romanian tourist in London to celebrate her boyfriend’s birthday. Foreign Ministry spokesman Ionut Valcu said Thursday that the woman fell into the Thames. Source
  • Police say man who crashed vehicle into pole died of gunshot wounds

    Canada News CTV News
    VAUGHAN, Ont. -- Police are investigating after a man found behind the wheel of a vehicle that crashed in Vaughan, Ont., died of gunshot wounds. York regional police say emergency crews were called to the intersection of Highway 7 and Interchange Way early Thursday. Source
  • A look at victims of the attack outside London's Parliament

    World News CTV News
    LONDON — Here's what's known about the victims of an attack in London where a man plowed a car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, killing two people and injuring scores of others. He then stabbed a policeman to death on the grounds of Britain's Parliament before other officers fatally shot him. Source
  • Eight arrested in major raids after London terror attack [Photos] [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    British police conducted major raids and arrested eight people in connection with the attack outside Parliament that left four dead, including the man who mowed down pedestrians on a bridge and fatally stabbed an officer, a senior police official said Thursday. Source
  • British MP calls Donald Trump Jr. a 'disgrace’ for evoking London mayor's months-old terror comment in tweet [Photos]

    World News Toronto Sun
    Emergency personnel close to the Palace of Westminster, London, Wednesday, March 22, 2017, after London police say officers called to a 'firearms incident' on Westminster Bridge, near Parliament. The leader of Britain's House of Commons says a man has been shot by police at Parliament. Source
  • Trump Jr. called a 'disgrace' for criticizing London mayor

    World News CTV News
    In this Jan. 20, 2017, file photo, Donald Trump, Jr., and Ivanka Trump arrive on Capitol Hill in Washington for the presidential Inauguration of their father, Donald Trump. (Saul Loeb via AP, Pool, File) Source
  • AP Exclusive: U.S. probes banking of ex-Trump campaign chief

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- U.S. Treasury Department agents have recently obtained information about offshore financial transactions involving President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, as part of a federal anti-corruption probe into his work in Eastern Europe, The Associated Press has learned. Source
  • Alberta mom's 'Rainbow Baskets' bring comfort to parents of children with Down syndrome

    Canada News CTV News
    An Alberta mother is offering a helping hand to parents of babies born with Down syndrome who may feel overwhelmed by the diagnosis. Krista Rowland-Collins sends baskets of gifts and baby supplies to families who give birth to children born with Down syndrome in the Calgary area. Source