Donald Trump says “there’s nothing to learn” from his income tax returns — a false claim that is the subject of this week’s fact-checking video by CNN’s Jake Tapper.
The presumptive Republican presidential nominee has declined so far to release his income tax returns because, he says, they are being audited by the IRS. As Tapper says in the video, we cannot verify Trump is being audited, because the IRS neither confirms nor denies the existence of ongoing audits. But Trump’s claim that “there’s nothing to learn” is false. Experts tell us there’s plenty to learn from presidential candidates’ tax returns, including sources of income, effective tax rates, charitable giving habits and more.
In fact, the Washington Post wrote in a subsequent story published May 20 that Trump had a negative net income in 1978 and 1979 and paid no federal income taxes, according to a 1981 report by New Jersey gambling regulators at a time when Trump was seeking a casino license. The article said Trump used “a tax-code provision popular with developers that allowed him to report negative income.”
Tapper’s video, which is produced weekly in collaboration with FactCheck.org, can be found on CNN’s website. Our article, “Trump’s Tax Returns,” and previous fact-checking videos can be found on our website.