President Trump’s Taxes Continue to Stir Controversy

Posted on February 07, 2017

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you are aware that President Trump has consistently refused to release his tax returns, halting a 40-year trend of Presidents and Presidential candidates who have released their tax returns to the public.

Trump has continuously claimed that he is not allowed to release his tax returns as a result of a routine IRS audit, a statement that is simply not true. On January 22, 2017, White House aide Kellyanne Conway appeared on ABC’s This Week With George Stephanopoulos and stated President Trump will not release copies of his tax returns because voters are more focused on their own tax returns. Conway was specifically responding to an online White House petition signed by more than 500,000 people demanding that the President release his tax returns.

The White House website allows online petitions initiated by the public where, if it receives at least 100,000 signatures within 30 days, a response from the White House is guaranteed within 60 days. Conway stated that “he’s not going to release his tax returns. We litigated this all through the election. People didn’t care. They voted for him.”

The next day, Conway tweeted “POTUS is under audit and will not release until that is completed.”

The White House petition demands that President Trump release his tax returns “with all information needed to verify Emoluments Clause compliance.” The Emoluments Clause of the United States Constitution can be found in Article I, § 9, Clause 8, and specifically states that: “No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States: and no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.”

The White House petition seeks the release of Trump’s tax returns to determine whether there are any economic conflicts of interest regarding President Trump and his administration and to determine whether there are any foreign influences or financial interests that Trump may have in conflict with the Constitution. Separately, the Center for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has filed suit against the government on the basis of the Emoluments Clause which, in part, is likely geared toward the release of Trump’s tax returns.

WikiLeaks subsequently tweeted encouragement to people with access to Trump’s tax returns to send them to WikiLeaks for their release. In the past, WikiLeaks has encouraged whistleblowers to provide Trump’s tax returns to it for publication and, with this tweet, seems to have intensified its efforts to obtain his tax returns.

Conway via Twitter has pulled back on her earlier statement, stating that Trump is under routine audit and will release his tax returns after the audit is complete, which is the same position routinely taken by Trump during the campaign.

We have always felt that Presidential candidates and Presidents should release their tax returns to the public for review. What do you think?

Do you owe money to the IRS? Don’t go it alone. Hire a qualified professional like Chicago tax attorney Patrick T. Sheehan & Associates. Contact us. We can help.  

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