Donald Trump’s old tax returns and why they matter now

The New York Times recently released Donald Trump’s 1995 tax returns, which showed a loss of $916 million that year.

Three pages of the tax return were sent to Susanne Craig, a writer for the New York Times on Sept. 23. The documents show Trump only claimed $6,108 in wages that year.

There’s no law that states presidents have to release their tax returns, but this has become the norm. Releasing tax returns is something that both parties have done to show transparency and integrity. Trump is the first nominee since George McGovern to not let the public look at his current tax returns. The Clintons have been releasing their tax returns since the 1970s, and Obama released his during his campaign.

“I just feel like Trump is trying to hide his losses,” said UW Tacoma student Jareah Carter.

Trump claimed he would release his tax returns after Obama released his birth certificate, which was publicly released in 2011. At the first presidential debate, he also claimed that he would release his returns when former Secretary Clinton revealed her deleted emails. Clinton released her tax returns back in February, during the Democratic primaries.

“If he’s not paying taxes, he’s not contributing to our society or country,” said Linda Isenson, chair of Pierce County Democrats. “His big claim to fame is that he’s a successful business man, but how could we know when he won’t release his tax returns?” The Pierce County Republican Party couldn’t be reached for comment.

“He can obviously release them if he wants to,” said Daniel Shaviro, a professor of taxation at New York University Law School. Shaviro said Trump’s lawyer told him not to release his returns for strategic purposes.

A 2015 article in Time magazine explained why the IRS audits certain individuals. Those who report more than $10 million in income, report no income, file international returns, or file estate tax returns on assets worth more than $5 million often get audited.