It is no secret that Donald Trump has been withholding his tax return information from the public. For months now, Trump has been justifying his actions by saying that he is under investigation by the IRS, which is why he won’t disclose the information. It has been said that the IRS has been out to get Trump since 2002, so it seems odd that Trump would be using the audit as an excuse. On the other hand, Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., released a statement claiming that if the tax information was to be released it would just be a “distraction” from the presidential election.
Although Trump continues to be in denial regarding his tax problems, believing that voters aren’t concerned about this information, there are authoritive figures such as Hilary Clinton, Dean Baquet, Executive Editor of the New York Times and Bob Woodward, Associate Editor at the Washington Post who claim that the public needs to know. Releasing taxpayer information without the taxpayer’s authorization is against the law and results in a felony. The repercussions of exposing this information include large fines and even serving jail time, yet the editors are willing to take the risk because they believe that the desire for the public to know will be worth it. It is also believed that the tax returns can seal the fate of the outcome of the election, which is a tempting risk, but one that needs to be considered meticulously.
The question on everyone’s mind is “How is it that Trumps tax returns haven’t been leaked yet?” Surely, there are many people who have access to the resources needed to obtain this information. The answer is simple according to a former IRS employee. IRS servers are constantly being monitored, so if an employee obtains the files without having the permission to do so, the agency will be able to know who accessed the files. If the agent chooses to release the information, they know what they are getting themselves into because all IRS employees are mandated to attend yearly training seminars on taxpayer confidentiality. In the seminar, they learn that federal law prohibits anyone from releasing taxpayer information and the consequences are $5,000.00 in fines, 5 years of jail time and in some cases the employee can be charged with both. These federal employees won’t risk losing their job, dignity, reputation and above all their freedom.