WASHINGTON – Donald Trump filed for an extension to submit his 2016 tax returns, NBC News reported Saturday citing a White House official, the latest reminder that the billionaire president continues to break with tradition and has not released his tax history.
Interest in Trump’s tax returns, a factor during his campaign for the White House, has grown as Congress and the FBI investigate the Trump administration and campaign’s possible ties to Russia.
Critics, including some Democratic lawmakers, have demanded Trump release the information to prove there are no financial entanglements that create conflicts of interest. Trump’s personal lawyers said in a letter that his returns from the past 10 years show that — with a few exceptions — he received no income from Russian sources and owed no debts to Russian lenders.
Trump’s plan for U.S. tax reform also generated calls for details on how the president and his various businesses might benefit from any changes.
Trump has long resisted calls to release the returns, saying that he has been under continuous audit by the Internal Revenue Service, and hinting that he may release them after he leaves office, if at all.
Although there is no rule or law that prevents people under audit from making their returns public, Trump has said his lawyers have advised him not to release the documents.
Trump told The Economist in an interview in May that “nobody cares about my tax return except for the reporters” and that “don’t forget I got elected without it.”
A Bloomberg/Morning Consult poll in April showed that 53 percent of registered voters said the president should be forced to release his returns, while fewer — 51 percent — said such disclosure was very or somewhat important to them.
Individual taxpayers needing extra time to finish their returns can request a six-month extension from the IRS. It is not uncommon for wealthy taxpayers with more complex finances to request such extensions.
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