Trump Made Up “Audit” Excuse for Why He Shouldn’t Make Tax Returns Public

In the run-up to the 2016 presidential election, then-candidate Donald Trump claimed that he couldn’t share his tax returns with the public because an IRS audit prevented him from doing so. However, a new book claims that this was a fabrication by Trump to avoid releasing his tax returns.

Every viable nominee for president since Richard Nixon — save for Trump — has shared several years of their tax records with the American public for the purpose of transparency. Trump was the first candidate since 1970s to not do so in 2016.

In “Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America,” New York TimesMaggie Haberman, journalist details how Trump and his staff came up with the lieDuring the 2016 campaign, Trump was on board his plane. Trump contemplated how he could “get [himself] out of this” in a discussion with his then-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and his campaign press secretary Hope Hicks, Haberman wrote.

On the plane, “[Trump]He leaned back before a sudden thought struck. ‘Well, you know my taxes are under audit. I always get audited,’ Trump said,” according to an excerptFrom the book.

Trump believed that this was the perfect solution, Haberman wrote, as he’d “never not be under audit.”

Trump later claimed on the campaign trail that his lawyers had advised against him releasing his taxes. They said it would be foolish to do so during an auditor’s review.

Numerous fact checks made at the time (and over the years) have confirmed that. there is no law that prohibits individuals, including presidential candidates, from sharing their tax returns if they’re under an audit from the IRS. Instead, Trump was likely reluctant to share his tax returns because they’d paint him in a bad light — they could showcase, for example, that he was losing millions of dollars in revenue each yearOr that he pays a substantially lower tax rate than most Americans with less wealth do annually.

Indeed, when the billionaire’s taxes eventually leaked in the fall of 2020, they showed that he had paid just $750 in income taxesIn 2016 and 2017.

Months later, Trump was elected president. he claimedAmerican citizens no longer care about their taxes. In reality, polling from his second presidential run in 2020 found that the vast majority of Americans (66 percent) agreed that he “should release his tax returns from earlier years.”