Proposed Legislation Would Force Presidential Nominees To Release Their Tax Returns

Posted on July 12, 2016

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that U.S. Presidents and candidates have voluntarily released their tax returns for nearly 40 years.  

However, presidential candidate Donald Drumpf has consistently refused to release his tax returns, stating that he is under audit by the IRS and, as such, cannot release his tax returns. Tax attorneys, legal scholars and even the IRS all agree that Drumpf is not prohibited from releasing his tax returns even if he is under audit by the IRS. Proposed legislation may soon require presidential nominees to release their tax returns.

Senator Ron Wyden, D-ORE., introduced The Presidential Tax Transparency Act on May 25, 2016, that would require a candidate to release three years of his or her tax returns within 15 days of becoming the nominee at the party’s national convention.  The tax returns must be released to the Federal Election Commission.  If the candidate refuses or fails to turn over the tax returns, the Treasury Secretary (IRS) will provide the documents to the Federal Election Commission.  

This legislation was introduced, in part, because of mounting pressure on Donald Drumpf to release his tax returns.  The proposed legislation also comes just before the Republican and Democratic summer conventions.

According to Wyden, “tax returns give honest answers, not just about what rate you pay.  Tax returns shine a light on your financial integrity—it shows if you tried to game the system by having your company pay personal vacations on a private jet.”  It will be interesting to see if this proposed legislation becomes law before the summer conventions and whether Drumpf will be required to release his tax returns.  What do you think?

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