IN FEBRUARY, Donald Trump said he hoped to release his tax returns in “three [or] four months.” Progress has not been forthcoming. His excuse for the continued delay is that the taxman is auditing the returns, and that his lawyers say he should keep his papers private in the meantime. If Mr Trump does not release any tax returns before November, he will be the first major candidate since 1976 not to do so.
There is no legal reason Mr Trump cannot release his returns while they are under audit. Paul Krugman, a New York Times columnist and economist, has argued that the audit should in fact make him more willing to go public—were no audit underway, he might fear that newspaper headlines would trigger one. A generous explanation for Mr Trump’s stance is that his lawyers think that a crowdsourced effort to find problems with Mr Trump’s (no doubt complex) tax affairs might be more effective—or less forgiving—than that of the chronically-underfunded IRS. This, though, seems a stretch. Even if it is true, it means that...Continue reading