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Donald Trump says his tax rate is ‘none of your business’

'You'll see it when I release, but I fight very hard to pay as little tax as possible.'


Patrick Howell O'Neill


Posted on May 13, 2016   Updated on May 26, 2021, 7:05 pm CDT

So, you want to know what’s going on in Donald Trump’s taxes?

“It’s none of your business,” the Republican presidential candidate said Friday morning when ABC News asked what his tax rate is.

Controversy has been slowly brewing over Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns, a move that would break with half a century of relative tax transparency from candidates in both major parties.

“You’ll see it when I release, but I fight very hard to pay as little tax as possible,” Trump said. “I don’t have Swiss bank accounts. I don’t have offshore accounts.”

Voters do not have a right to see his tax returns, Trump said, but he “will really gladly give it to them.”

Earlier this week, Trump said he wouldn’t be sharing the tax returns before November’s election. He changed his mind Friday morning, saying he hopes they’re out before the election.

No promises, though, and you’re going to have to take Trump’s word on everything until then.

There is no law requiring a presidential candidate release their tax returns to the public, but every major party candidate since Jimmy Carter in 1976 has done so.

“It is disqualifying for a modern-day presidential nominee to refuse to release tax returns to the voters,” 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said in a Facebook post on Wednesday, “especially one who has not been subject to public scrutiny in either military or public service.”

Trump called Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, who has released eight years of tax returns, a “hypocrite” for demanding Trump do the same.

“I sort of have to laugh when Clinton says it. Mrs. Clinton said I should give my tax returns. What about all the emails or missing Goldman Sachs speeches?” Trump said.

Clinton gave paid speeches to Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs and refuses to release the transcripts until other candidates do the same. She hasn’t said what speeches from other candidates she’s referencing, or which candidates she’s waiting for, or, really, offered any specificity at all.

For that reason, it’s difficult to imagine her conditions being met in a way that would cause her to release transcripts of her Goldman Sachs speeches.

Trump’s flip-flops on tax transparency have been particularly strange for a candidate who has criticized others so much for lack of transparency.

For years, Trump loudly demanded President Barack Obama release multiple birth certificates to prove he was a natural born citizen. Obama did just that.

Time will tell if Trump takes a turn toward tax transparency in time for voters to examine his record.

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*First Published: May 13, 2016, 11:47 am CDT