Trump Tax Return Debate: Why Donald Trump’s Tax Returns Are So Important [Opinion]

Throughout most of last year, the debate about the Trump tax returns ebbed and flowed amidst all the other scandals that the Trump campaign managed to generate on an almost daily basis. In recent months, Donald Trump has tried to push the controversy away by essentially ignoring it. But as yesterday’s events, described by CBS News, demonstrate, a large percentage of the American people still insist on seeing Trump’s returns. Why is it so important?

For months last year and into the beginning of this year, Donald Trump has claimed that he would have been happy to share the contents of his tax returns with the American people, except that they were under audit by the IRS. Given that most Americans have never been audited by the IRS, this might sound like a valid excuse to them.

Donald Trump pointing Uncle Sam style. He wants you to forget his tax return.
Donald Trump pointing Uncle Sam style. He wants you to forget his tax return. [Image by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]

But it’s fairly apparent that Donald Trump’s tax returns are always going to be under audit. This means that even the ones he’s filed this year will not be revealed to the American public. In fact, Donald Trump made it fairly plain in yet another ranting tweet on Twitter that he has no interest in revealing this information to the people who elected him – or the people who voted against him for that matter.

But the relevancy of just what’s in the Trump tax returns has never been more evident. There are a host of scandals and concerns surrounding Donald Trump that might be best addressed by looking carefully at his income and debts.

Trump Russian Connections

Given the deep concern that many people have about the close connections that Donald Trump and others in his administration seem to have with Russia and Vladimir Putin, a perusal of the Trump tax returns might help to shed light on just how close Donald Trump is to a country that currently has thousands of nuclear warheads aimed at the United States.

Trump Russia ties suggested by mural.
Trump Russia ties suggested by mural. [Image by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]

How Rich Is Donald Trump?

Trump is well known for his ability to brag about himself in almost every sentence he utters. One thing he says with incredible regularity is that he is rich; rich and highly successful as a businessman. But as reported by Vanity Fair, there are many people who doubt he has the kind of wealth he claims.

There are even people who consider Donald Trump – in no small part because of his frequent bankruptcies – to be little more than a con man who tricked the American public into thinking he was something that he wasn’t. Normally, this might not be that big a deal, but for the president of the United States it definitely is. So we need to see the Trump tax returns.

Conflicts of Interest

Then there are the conflicts of interest. Unlike any other recent president before him, Donald Trump has not placed his wealth, however great it may be, into the hands of a blind trust. Instead, he put his business interests under the control of his children, children that he sees or speaks to every single day. So just how disinterested can he be?

Trump has business interests all over the world, with properties throughout the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. Even if not intentionally – and it’s hard to believe Trump wouldn’t promote himself intentionally – just the fact that he is currently residing in the White House means that his continuing ownership of properties around the world, from hotels to golf courses, will inevitably lead to major conflicts of interest between his finances and his duties as president of the United States. One way to pin down just how extensive such conflicts of interest might actually be would be for us to get a chance to peruse the most recent Donald Trump tax returns.

[Featured Image by Scott Olson/Getty Images]