May 3, 2017

New York could publish Trump's tax returns

Politico - Efforts to force the president to release his tax filings have proven fruitless thus far. On Capitol Hill, Republican leaders are blocking a bipartisan bill that would make President Trump’s returns publicly available, even though 64 percent of self-identified Republicans say the president should release his tax filings. In Trenton, New Jersey state lawmakers have passed legislation that would require presidential candidates to release their returns as a condition for their names appearing on the state’s 2020 ballot, but Republican Governor Chris Christie vetoed the bill this week.

Lawmakers in Albany, however, have a much more viable opportunity to compel the immediate disclosure of the president’s tax filings—and it arises out of New York’s unique position as the sitting president’s home state.

The idea is a simple one: Each year, Trump files federal income tax returns with the IRS and a similar resident income tax return with New York. The state form doesn’t include all the same information as Trump’s federal filings, but it includes much of it. Trump’s state returns disclose how much income he earns from in-state and out-of-state sources and what deductions he claims for charitable contributions and various other expenses. If Trump uses phantom losses to zero out his federal income tax liability, he almost certainly does the same for state tax purposes. Trump’s state returns also will reveal how much he pays in taxes not only to New York state, but also to New York City—which itself will spend somewhere in the range of $60 million a year protecting the Trump family during his presidency. And if New York wants to publish President Trump’s state tax returns, it can.

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