Tag Archives: IRS

Tax returns: the gift that keeps on giving

Tax returns have, um, returned to the top of our awareness.

Not my tax returns. Or yours. I refer to the president of the United States.

You’ll recall when Donald Trump stiffed 40 years of political tradition by refusing to release his returns for public scrutiny. He said dubiously that he was under audit by the Internal Revenue Service. That was more than two years ago! He still hasn’t released them. He is showing not a single indication that he’ll do so voluntarily.

Presidential candidates of both parties since 1976 have released their tax returns in the spirit of full transparency. Trump talks about being transparent, then hides his returns.

They’re increasing in relevance to what has developed. The special counsel, Robert Mueller, likely knows what is in those returns. He likely knows about whether the president has invested in “Russia matters.” He likely knows whether the president has benefited materially from his office, which could be in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, the part that says presidents cannot accept money from foreign governments.

We’ll know in due course whether Mueller has those returns. We’ll know also in due course whether the special counsel has anything incriminating regarding those returns.

The idea that Trump has refused to release those returns because of an IRS audit falls apart on two levels. First, he’s never produced any evidence that the IRS is even auditing his tax returns. Second, the IRS — which doesn’t comment on individual audits — has made it clear that an audit does not preclude any public figure from making those returns public.

My direct plea to the special counsel is this: Make those returns available to those of us who want to know the truth behind our president’s financial dealings.

Another reason to demand POTUS’s tax returns

Wouldn’t you know it?

Among the first things that crossed my mind when I heard about The New York Times’s in-depth look at how Donald Trump obtained his wealth dealt with those mysterious tax returns that no one has seen.

That’s right. The president who defied political tradition dating back to 1976 continues to keep his tax returns from public scrutiny. He said while running for office in 2016 that he was being audited by the Internal Revenue Service. Every presidential candidate going back four decades has released their tax returns for public review.

Why is that relevant today? Because the NY Times’s investigation revealed that a much younger Donald Trump used possibly illegal tax “schemes” to his financial advantage while he was taking many millions of dollars from his late father, Fred Trump, who helped him build his real estate empire.

So … the question persists: When are we going to see those tax returns, Mr. President?

I know he’s not going to release them unless someone orders it. I also believe the IRS audit is a sham, a dodge that Trump used as a pretext to keep the returns hidden from public review. The IRS doesn’t comment on specific audits, but it also has said an audit doesn’t preclude a public official from releasing them.

Meanwhile, we have this lengthy newspaper report that goes into excruciating detail how Donald Trump and his father possibly gamed the tax system to their financial advantage.

Read the Times story here.

The Times story is a long one. It’s worth your time if you want to take a peek into how a future president of the United States built his financial empire in a way that contradicts his own statements that he scaled the mountain all by himself.

He didn’t. He had lots of help from his father … and possibly from the federal tax system.

We cannot talk to Fred Trump, given that he’s no longer with us. The public, though, can get a good look at those tax returns to draw its own conclusions about how Donald Trump got his start in the rough-and-tumble world of business.

What’s more, the president calls the Times’s story “100 percent false.” Prove it, Mr. President. Deliver those tax returns!

Does the special counsel have those Trump tax returns?

I keep getting this throbbing in my trick knee that suggests that special counsel Robert Mueller might be able to answer the question that has been bugging millions of Americans like me.

What is in Donald John Trump’s tax returns, the returns he refuses to release for public inspection?

That ol’ trick knee of mine suggests that Mueller has obtained those returns as part of his investigation into “The Russia Thing.” Trump won’t release them, making some sort of phony claim about being under audit by the Internal Revenue Service.

Of course, Mueller has substantial authority to get a lot of information that doesn’t come out through regular channels.

I’m waiting with some anxiousness for Mueller to finish this probe while telling us what many of us want to know: Are there business dealings in Russia that Trump wants to keep hidden from the public?

Oh, those doggone tax returns

Pardon me for gloating for just a moment.

I have kept yapping about those income tax returns that Donald J. Trump has refused to release for public viewing. He has broken with a 40-year tradition laid out by presidential candidates of both major parties.

Now he has had that hideous press conference this past week with Vladimir Putin, calling into question yet again whether the Russians — and their president — have something, anything on Trump’s business dealings that the U.S. president might not want known to the public.

Thus, the tax return issue has returned. It’s back. Hey, it won’t go away.

The Hill reported this: The issue of Trump’s tax returns had become less prominent in recent months. But that changed following last week’s joint press conference with Putin in Helsinki when Trump questioned the findings of the U.S. intelligence community that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

Trump continues to hide behind the lie that an Internal Revenue Service audit prevents the tax returns release. The IRS — which hasn’t commented on whether it is auditing Trump’s taxes — says no such audit would prevent the release of tax returns to the public.

For that matter, Trump hasn’t even produced a letter saying that the IRS is auditing him.

The questions and suspicion about Trump’s refusal to condemn the Russian attack on our election are valid. Does it have anything to do with Trump’s business dealings in Russia? Do the Russians have the “goods” on the president? If they do, what do those “goods” constitute?

I am happy to realize that others have suggested what some of us have been saying all along: Release those tax returns. The public needs to know what they contain. Do it! Now!

Tax returns? Remember them?

Forgive me, please, for being repetitive.

I believe it’s time, though, to bring up an old issue: tax returns. Specifically, the tax returns of the president of the United States of America. Yes, I know: I’ve traveled down this road already.

Donald J. Trump’s astonishing performance Monday alongside Vladimir Putin in Helsinki has prompted questions about whether Putin has “something” on Trump, as in some sort of business matter that might embarrass the president.

How might we know for certain? Oh, I’ve got it! Tax returns!

Trump refused to release his tax returns when he declared his presidential candidacy in 2015, flouting a tradition followed by candidates of both major parties dating back to 1976. They all did it voluntarily.

Not so with Trump. Why? His returns were “under and IRS audit,” he said. It’s crap. The Internal Revenue Service said an audit didn’t prevent release of those returns for public review.

But now there are questions arising anew about whether the president’s substantial business empire has been caught up in the “Russia thing” that special counsel Robert Mueller is examining as part of his probe into Russian meddling in our 2016 election.

I’ll ask one more, and it likely won’t be the final time: Why not release the returns and shine the light of accountability on your dealings, Mr. President?

Tax returns, Mr. President?

A Rhode Island state senator has pitched a fascinating idea that I hope becomes law. Indeed, her idea has already passed the state Senate. Where it goes next is anyone’s guess.

I fear that it won’t see the light of day.

Democrat Gayle Goldin authored a bill that would keep Donald J. Trump’s name off the 2020 ballot unless he releases his income tax returns, something he has so far refused to do.

Trump already has launched his re-election effort. He won’t win Rhode Island’s electoral votes in 2020, just as he didn’t win them in 2016. Sen. Goldin wants him to do something that every presidential candidate has done for the past 40 years, which is release his tax returns for public scrutiny.

Trump’s excuse for refusing to do so is as lame as it gets. He says the Internal Revenue Service is auditing his returns. The IRS says an audit doesn’t prevent someone from releasing their returns to the public, although it has not commented specifically on whether it is actually auditing Trump’s returns.

For that matter, the president hasn’t even produced any evidence that the IRS is in fact auditing his returns, which makes many of us question whether any such audit even has taken place.

Democrats control the Rhode Island Senate. Goldin’s bill passed 34-3. It now goes to the state House. I don’t yet have confidence that this gutsy measure will become law.

I hope it does. I also hope it catches on in all 50 states. I know. It’s not likely to happen. One can hope.

One more time: Tax returns, Mr. President

Special counsel Robert Mueller has subpoenaed documents from the Trump Organization. He is looking for information relating to the president’s business dealings in Russia and whether there might be some link between those matters and the president’s reluctance to acknowledge Russian meddling in our electoral process.

Wow! Yes? Donald Trump has called that a “red line” that might produce some serious retaliation from the president against Mueller.

Hey now! I have a thought. Do you remember those Trump tax returns? The returns the president hasn’t revealed to the public, defying 40 years of political custom from presidential nominees of both parties? Trump has clung to a lame excuse about an “audit.” The Internal Revenue Service, which hasn’t yet commented on whether it is actually auditing Trump’s returns, has said an audit doesn’t preclude the returns’ release to the public.

Trump should have released them long ago. Mueller’s probe now seems to be closing in on those returns. Gosh, might he subpoena those returns as part of his own investigation?

Trump and his allies keep saying that “no one” is interested in those returns. I disagree. Strongly, in fact. I am not “no one.” Neither are the millions of Americans who didn’t vote for Trump. Yes, there are more of us than those who voted for the president in 2016.

The tax returns are back. On the front burner, where they belong.

POTUS has much for which he must answer

The farther along we stagger forward into the presidency of Donald Trump, the deeper the hole he digs for himself.

I refer to the many statements he has made — as candidate and then as president — that have yet to be substantiated.

A few of them come to mind.

  • He has asserted that climate change is a “hoax,” a fantasy created by China to discredit our fossil fuel industry.
  • Trump has accused “millions of illegal immigrants” of voting for Hillary Clinton in 2016, giving her the nearly 3 million popular vote margin she rolled up over the president.
  • The president has fanned the flames of the phony and slanderous birther movement once again by challenging whether Barack Obama was actually born in the United States of America; he once said that the president is a U.S. citizen, but has all but walked that one back.
  • Candidate Donald Trump said he would release his tax returns once the Internal Revenue Service completed its audit. That was more than two years ago. The tax returns remain a secret. The IRS cannot possibly be conducting that audit to this day.
  • Trump said he wouldn’t have time for golf, that he’d be too busy making America “great again.” He, um, has broken that pledge, too.

I know I’ve missed a few. Maybe many. But I hope you get the point.

The president has made bold pledges. He hasn’t been held to account for them. His base continues to rally behind him. They give him a pass on all of it. They ignore his hideous personal behavior in a way they never would do if the president was a member of the opposing political party.

Others of us out here are seeking to hold this guy accountable for his lengthening list of untrue statements and promises he made.

I don’t expect the president to listen to his critics. He doesn’t care what we think. He cares only about the slobbering support he gets from those who relish the idiotic notion that Donald Trump simply is “telling it like it is.”

Complain about a million bucks? Hardly!

I’ve been called out. Someone who reads this blog has scolded me for my continuing criticism of Donald John Trump.

This individual — who I don’t know personally or even through social media — said I’d still “bitch about it” if the president “gave every family one million dollars.”

Why, I never …

I wouldn’t “bitch” about it. I’d merely wonder where he’s getting the money. I would presume, for instance, that he’d pay us all with public money. Meaning tax money collected by the Internal Revenue Service from every taxpaying American.

Then I would question whether the U.S. Treasury could afford to part with the money, given that we already have rolled up this massive debt of $20 trillion, which figures to grow even more as the Trump-Congressional Republican tax cut kicks in.

That’s one option.

Then there’s the other one, which would be that Trump could hand out the money from his hu-u-u-u-u-ge fortune built through real estate wheeling and dealing. Didn’t he insist during the 2016 presidential campaign that he’s “really rich”? Of course he did!

If Trump were to dig deeply into his pockets for private money he’d like to distribute to the unwashed masses he governs, well … I wouldn’t complain one single bit.

I’d like to see the president’s tax returns, though, to ensure that he acquired the money legitimately.

Tax returns would prove whether POTUS takes a hit

OK, here we go. The Republican-passed tax cut is heading for Donald Trump’s desk. The president will sign it, probably soon.

He keeps telling us how much of a beating he’s going to take from the tax overhaul. “Believe me. Believe me!” he implores us.

Sure thing, Mr. President. We’re supposed to take your word for it. I mean, your word is your bond, isn’t that right?

Well, here’s the deal. Some independent tax analysts have sung a different tune about the tax plan. They’ve told us the very wealthy are going to do quite well; that would include Donald John “I’ve Made a Lot of Money” Trump.

How in the world can we know for certain whether the president is going to take a beating or whether he’ll benefit bigly from the tax plan?

Oh, I know! How about releasing those tax returns he keeps refusing to disclose for public review? Trump has told the Internal Revenue Service is conducting a “routine audit” of his returns. Let’s see, when he first say that? He said when he declared his presidential candidacy in June 2015. The IRS says an audit doesn’t preclude anyone releasing their returns.

The IRS doesn’t comment on whether it is conducting an audit. Which begs the question: Is the IRS really auditing Donald Trump’s tax returns? We haven’t seen any evidence in the form of a letter from the IRS to the Trump business empire that it would audit the company’s tax returns.

The corporate tax rate under the overhaul declines from 37 to 21 percent. There also are reportedly other perks for businesses involved in, um, commercial real estate.

I am unwilling to take the president at his word that he’s going to get hammered by the tax cut plan. I want proof. I want to see his tax returns.