You gotta love this time of year. Football is back, the kids are in school all day and those warm summer nights have turned into brisk fall mornings. Of course, there is that ongoing presidential election thing going on, too. Whether or not you love it, or simply tolerate it, election coverage is at every turn. Each of the candidates spends his or her days talking him or herself up, while never passing on the opportunity to bash his or her opponent. It makes for a lot of interesting fodder for political analysts and for those voters who enjoy the back-and-forth banter. Whether it’s Hilary Clinton’s health, or her email server, or Donald Trump’s polarizing statements regarding immigrants or whether or not he should release his tax returns, there is no shortage of material for everyone involved to comment on.
What Does He Have to Hide?
Speaking of those tax returns, which have been an ongoing debate in this election year, it looks as though the republican nominee, Donald Trump might just end up being the first presidential candidate for either party not to make his returns public. Despite the outcries by Clinton and many others on the left that he is trying to hide something, Trump continues to claim that no one really cares about his tax returns. So why won’t Trump release his returns? Does he really have something awful to hide? Of course, if you ask anyone who opposes Trump they will tell you that his reluctance to make his returns public is a certain sign that he is trying to hide a major bombshell. Trump says that is not the case. The reason he won’t release them is very simple.
Ongoing IRS Audit
According to Trump, he claims that he can’t release his tax records because he is currently being audited. In fact, Trump claims that the IRS has audited him routinely for the last 12 years. While that may or may not be true, tax lawyers say that being audited does not preclude him from sharing his returns. However, Trump claims that he will not share them until his audit is completed on the advice of his own tax attorneys. To be clear, according to Trump’s tax lawyers the IRS has completed a review of his returns from 2002 through 2008, but that a separate review of his returns beginning in 2009 and going forward is still ongoing.
Is it All About Perception?
So now to the real crux of the matter, does trump have anything to hide? Is there really an awful bombshell that will change the face of the election? While it’s impossible to say for sure without full disclosure, chances are the reasons for his withholding could be quite simple. For one, there is a good chance that Trump’s tax rate is quite low, as it is with many wealthy individuals who make most of their income from capital gains, and who use several tax loopholes to keep their effective tax rate down. This could provide political ammunition for his detractors if it appears he is not paying his fair share of taxes, which is always an issue with many of the nation’s lower- and middle-class voters
Other Possible Reasons
Dallas Mavericks’ Owner Mark Cuban recently suggested another possible reason for Trump’s refusal. He said it simply could be that his returns don’t match the picture of wealth he has painted of himself, which could hurt his brand and his ego. In other words, if he has had a down year or two, and his wealth isn’t as great as he claims that wouldn’t look good with the public image, he has created. Still some suggest that his returns would be an embarrassment to him because they would show his actual donations to charity, which might not be as grand as Trump claims. There are also many reports of bad business ventures and dealings, which could also be brought to light if he made his returns public. Of course, no one knows for sure outside of Trump and his tax attorneys, but chances are the reasons for his reluctance are less about terrible election-altering bombshells and more about his ego and pride.