Trump won’t release tax returns until IRS audit is finished, campaign manager says

PUBLISHED : Monday, 22 August, 2016, 9:26am
UPDATED : Monday, 22 August, 2016, 10:08pm

Donald Trump’s new campaign manager said Sunday that the GOP nominee will not release his income tax returns to the public until an Internal Revenue Service audit is complete.

It was a reversal for Kellyanne Conway, who was named Trump’s campaign manager on Wednesday. Earlier this year, the Republican pollster and strategist had urged Trump to release his tax returns.

“I’ve learned since being on the inside that this audit is a serious matter and that he has said that when the audit is complete, he will release his tax returns,” Conway said Sunday on ABC’s This Week.

No law prevents Trump from releasing his returns during an audit, which could take years.

His returns would show voters for the first time how much he pays in taxes, how much he gives to charity, and provide a guide to his assets and investments.

A New York Times investigation into Trump’s vast real estate holdings concluded that companies he owns in the United States have at least US$650 million in debt, far more than he has publicly acknowledged.

Every major party presidential candidate since the 1970s has released tax returns.

Trump’s Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, has released returns for several decades, including her 2015 return, and has pressed Trump to release his.

Representatives for Trump have said the IRS is auditing his tax returns filed since 2009 and that returns from 2002 to 2008 are no longer being audited.

Conway told CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday that she doesn’t think Trump should release the earlier returns either.

“This entire tax return debate is somewhat confounding to me, in the following sense: I don’t think that it creates one job, gets one more individual who does not have health insurance covered by health insurance, particularly under the disaster that has been Obamacare with these private insurers pulling out [of] exchanges now and reporting billions of dollars of losses,” Conway said.

Voters, Conway said, should be focused on how Trump’s plan could reduce their tax liability.

“If we want transparency, if we want specifics, the most relevant thing that people can look at is what is his plan for their tax bill,” Conway said.