When the House Ways and Means Committee released former President Donald Trump’s tax returns on Friday (December 30) has illuminated the unequal nature of the U.S. tax system.
The former President relied on business losses to reduce his personal tax liability, paying nothing in personal income tax in some years and avoiding a mandatory presidential audit because — as many believe — his tax returns were too convoluted.
Despite one of Trump’s primary businesses being found guilty of tax fraud, Trump hasn’t been accused of any wrongdoing regarding his personal tax returns, raising questions about the country’s tax code.
These tax codes — which contain millions of words of regulations — proved ineffective and unenforceable on Trump’s tax returns.
Tax reform advocates believe Trump’s tax returns are creating a much-needed shift away from the mindset that taxation is punitive and economically destructive, which enables those like Trump to tout their ability to reduce tax liability.
Following the release of Trump’s returns on Friday, the former President released a statement praising his use of the tax code as an “incentive for creating thousands of jobs and magnificent structures and enterprises.”
According to the Ways and Means Committee, Trump wasn’t subject to the mandatory Presidential audit for the first two years of his Presidency.
The sole IRS agent assigned to Trump’s audit as President noted a “lack of resources” as the reason “certain issues” weren’t pursued in the former President’s returns.
But others have pointed out that the release of Trump’s tax returns had a significant omission — the IRS audit files.
The Ways and Means Committee sought Trump’s tax returns to investigate IRS oversight, but as some pundits point out, without the work papers releasing Trump’s tax returns doesn’t spotlight a lack of IRS oversight.