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

  • Weather experts predict 'normal' summer conditions

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    Forget about stifling and dry weather this summer. The Weather Network predicted Wednesday that GTA residents will be spared a repetition of the conditions that made for a sticky summer last year. “This summer won’t be as hot or as dry. Source
  • What we know about the Manchester bomber

    World News CTV News
    Two days after 22 people were killed and 119 more were wounded in an apparent suicide bombing following an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, U.K, details are beginning to emerge about the 22-year-old suspect and his family’s alleged ties to extremist groups in Libya. Source
  • MMIW public inquiry a 'bloody farce': justice minister's father

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA -- Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould's father is calling the national public inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women a "bloody farce." Bill Wilson, a hereditary chief, says the commissioners have "failed miserably." The justice minister's office has yet to comment on Wilson's remarks posted on social media. Source
  • Dog found buried alive on Montreal's South Shore Tuesday dies at veterinary clinic

    Canada News CBC News
    The male boxer found buried alive on Montreal's South Shore Tuesday has died. The dog died around 4 p.m. Wednesday, despite the best efforts of the veterinarian whose care he was in to save him. The dog, nicknamed Earthquake and Sugar Ray after he was found Tuesday, had received adoption offers from as far away as B.C. Source
  • Fox News host Sean Hannity accuses watchdog group of 'liberal fascism' in ad shaming

    World News Toronto Sun
    NEW YORK — Sean Hannity says a media watchdog is guilty of “liberal fascism” for targeting advertisers on his Fox News Channel show. One company announced Wednesday that it would no longer advertise there. The Chicago-based Cars.com said it had been watching Hannity’s show closely and decided to suspend its backing. Source
  • 'She should have been safe': Family searching for answers after woman dies in Windsor, Ont. jail

    Canada News CBC News
    Delilah Blair's grieving mother is struggling to understand how her daughter could die in jail – the one place she thought she would always be safe. "When she was incarcerated I could sleep because I knew she wasn't on the streets," said Selina McIntyre. Source
  • Halifax medical student accused of murder was deeply in debt, trial told

    Canada News CTV News
    HALIFAX -- Medical student William Sandeson was deeply in debt and under pressure from his parents about his spending in the weeks before he allegedly murdered another student during a drug deal, a Halifax jury heard Wednesday. Source
  • 'Bittersweet' day for ex-RCMP women as sex-harassment lawsuit nears end

    Canada News CBC News
    Two women who endured years of sexual harassment as RCMP employees expressed mixed emotions as a landmark class-action suit against the force edged Wednesday toward final court approval. Speaking after a settlement hearing, the women expressed hope their long battle would pave the way for a more hospitable RCMP workplace. Source
  • N.S. man's custom-made wheelchair stolen on eve of accident anniversary

    Canada News CTV News
    Bill Beaton’s $5,400 custom-made wheelchair was stolen almost 13 years to the day since his motorcycle accident. “It was so weird that it happened on the eve of my accident,” Beaton told CTV Atlantic. Source
  • Labour, employment code overhaul brings Alberta law into 'mainstream'

    Canada News CBC News
    A proposed overhaul of Alberta's labour and employment standards codes includes job protection for unpaid leaves, a hybrid union certification process and first contract legislation. Bill 17, the Fair and Family-friendly Workplaces Act, marks the first time the law has been changed since 1988. Source