Donald Trump finally released his tax return for 2017, but it doesn’t include the billions of dollars he has claimed to have donated to his businesses during his campaign.
As of Friday, Trump still hasn’t released the tax returns from his tax years in 2005 and 2007, which he said during the 2016 presidential campaign would be the “most important thing” to release, despite the fact that Trump and his attorneys have claimed that the returns will contain all the information they need to make their case.
Instead, Trump is now just letting the IRS determine whether or not the return is complete.
“I am not releasing any of the returns to the public.
The IRS will not release them,” Trump said in a statement Thursday.
“In addition, there is nothing that indicates that any taxpayer, business, or entity is being audited.”
Trump’s claim that the return would reveal “all the information that they need” is a dodge, since the tax return is an incomplete document.
The returns are supposed to show what Trump has paid in taxes, but because the returns don’t include any information about the donations, the IRS will only be able to figure out the money he has given, not how much he has donated.
“He [Trump] is now in a position where he is saying that he will be releasing all the returns.
That’s not going to happen,” said Stephen Vladeck, a tax law professor at the University of Houston who specializes in tax law and tax policy.
“He’s not releasing anything until he gets his return.
So the IRS can’t say anything about what he’s giving to charity, or what he owes the IRS.”
Trump has long claimed that he is “100% transparent” about his finances.
“My returns will be out very soon, and they will be very complete, and it will be absolutely, positively 100% transparent,” he said in an October 2017 campaign speech.
“We are going to release our tax returns in a very timely manner.”
But when he was asked during a press conference on Tuesday to provide a detailed breakdown of his business holdings and donations during his years in the public eye, Trump refused.
“You’re asking me a question, I don’t have the answers,” he told reporters.
The Trump campaign later claimed that Trump “has never made a single contribution or received any compensation” from his businesses, but Trump’s lawyers have claimed in court filings that they have not yet received the returns and that the tax documents are “complete, accurate, and complete,” according to Politico.
Trump’s lawyers also say that the IRS has not yet “given Trump a complete accounting” of his charitable giving, but the agency “has not provided any evidence to support” that claim.
“There is no evidence that Trump has ever received a payment from the Trump Foundation for his charity,” the Trump campaign wrote in a letter to the IRS on Tuesday.
“Trump has never received a gift from a foundation.”
Trump is also using his legal woes to defend himself from a federal court challenge.
“The president has been and continues to be fully transparent with his tax filings,” the White House said in October.
“As he has explained many times, he intends to file his tax documents in a timely manner and with all the necessary information.”
In the meantime, Trump has continued to defend his charitable donations, claiming that he would not have given them if he had been subject to the same restrictions as those who were trying to block his presidential candidacy.
“I don’t think anybody can dispute that I have given to charity,” Trump told CNN on Thursday.
He also claimed that his charitable contributions have been “substantially less” than his political donations.
“It’s actually less than half.”
Trump also claims that “I have given tens of millions of dollars to charities that don’t need it,” despite his claim that “the vast majority” of the donations he has made to charities in his years as a politician have been for the “general welfare.”
Trump claimed during the Republican presidential primary that he has “given billions of tax-deductible dollars” to charities, but has so far only provided a brief accounting of his tax payments.
He did not respond to a request for comment on Friday.