Much has been said and written about Mr. Trump's “audit.” Unfortunately, almost all of it has been uttered by people who do not know what they are communicating about.
So let's get some basic facts straight.
The examination — audit is not really a correct term — of his returns is primarily within the purview of the Large Business and International Division of the Internal Revenue Service. It is likely that he is examined every year.
Because we know that he has foreign properties and/or licensing deals throughout the world, there are undoubtedly many foreign entities involved doing business in their place of incorporation. This is standard for diverse international businesses. The return also probably shows flow-through items from many entities and all of the extensive required reporting of same. Then of course, not all ventures may be profitable so there may be current and historical losses that show on the returns from certain activities.
Why not release the tax return to the public? First, every “Trump hater” in the county will look at it and many, without knowing, will say and write incorrect criticism. But, more importantly, I would bet that each one of the Trump haters would take it upon themselves to inundate the IRS with thousands of letters.
So what should Mr. Trump do? As a tax attorney and tax litigator for more than 39 years, here is what I recommend. Mr. Trump should release 10 years of summaries of his returns.
Due to his real estate and foreign operations, there may be years when depreciation, interest expense, net operating losses, capital losses, foreign tax credits, and other deductions and credits may zero out the tax due or even cause a refund of any taxes paid in either the current year or a past year or years by carrying a loss back. He also should disclose the amount of his charitable contributions.
Robert E. Panoff, Esq.