On February 22, 2021, the Supreme Court rejected former President of the United States Donald Trump’s attempt to prevent Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance from seeing his tax returns and other financial documents—a major legal setback for Trump.
The nagging question about the matter of Trump’s tax returns is why he has been fighting tooth and nail over the past five-plus years to prevent anyone from seeing his returns. What does he fear so much? Earlier, his views of releasing his tax returns differed….
In 2014, Trump said, “If I decide to run for office, I’ll produce my tax returns, absolutely.” In 2015, he told conservative radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt, “I would certainly show tax returns if it was necessary.” In January 2016, Trump was still speaking about how he may release his tax returns. He said, “I have very big returns, as you know, and I have everything all approved and very beautiful and we’ll be working that over in the next period of time.”
After this, something changed because Trump started going back on these promises by February 2016. During an interview aired on February 24, 2016, Trump said, “We’ll make a determination over the next couple of months. It’s very complicated.” The next day, Trump gave his excuse for not releasing his returns—“I get audited. And obviously if I’m being audited, I’m not going to release a return. As soon as the audit is done, I love it.” The excuse is a flimsy one because there’s no law prohibiting an individual under audit from releasing their tax returns.
The New York Times obtained several of Trump’s past tax records and some guesses were made about why Trump is reluctant to release his tax returns:
– he has huge debts
– he evaded paying taxes for years (by claiming over $900 million in losses on his 1995 tax return)
If this is true, Trump knows these tax return details will make him look bad and would likely kill any potential leverage he has to get himself out of his current financial crisis, so he keeps his tax returns a secret.