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What is Trump hiding in his tax returns?

What is Trump hiding in his tax returns?
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holds a press conference at Trump National Doral on July 27, 2016, in Doral, Fla. Trump spoke about the Democratic Convention and called on Russia to find Hillary Clinton's deleted emails. (Gustavo Caballero / Getty Images)

Donald Trump's claim that he can't release his entire tax returns because of a pending audit doesn't prevent him from making a limited release of a small portion of his returns ("If Trump didn't release his tax returns, will Mike Pence?" July 18). In fact, releasing just three pages would answer the questions of how much does he make, how much does he give to charity and how much does he pay in taxes. If Mr. Trump released just the front and back of his Form 1040 and his Schedule B he could answer those three questions without any impact whatsoever on a pending audit.

The Form 1040 is a compilation of all sources of income — wages, interest, dividends, partnerships and rents. He has already sworn to that under oath. The other 10,000 pages of Mr. Trump's return tell you what the actual source of the income is and how he calculated it and transferred it to the appropriate line on his Form 1040. That is what the IRS is examining. That stuff might be interesting to some, but it doesn't impact the three basic questions the public wants to know. Schedule B will show how much he gave to charity from his own funds, as opposed to donations his entities may have made. At the end of the Form 1040 the amount of tax due is calculated. Even if Mr. Trump pays Mitt Romney-like tax rates of 14 percent, that would have nothing to do with an audit. It would just be a reflection of the rates paid on different types of income.

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I have never represented anyone in a full field audit with the IRS. But in my law practice I have sued many accountants and lawyers for tax mistakes, so I understand how tax returns and audits work. If anyone takes the position, whether an expert or not, that releasing Mr. Trump's Form 1040 and Schedule B could have an impact on his pending audits they are either ignorant or lying.

My own suspicion? There is something in the Form 1040 and Schedule B that Mr. Trump is afraid to publicize.

André Weitzman, Baltimore

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