Why Trump’s Tax Returns Never Really Mattered in the First Place

Since the beginning of the election, Democrats have been eager to get their hands on Trump’s past tax returns. Though motivations vary, many wish to see whether he committed fraud. That’s why, when Donald Trump’s tax return from 2005 was released to the public, the media went into an uproar.

There’s been speculation that Trump himself intentionally “leaked” the returns in order to silence some of the requests to see his past financial history. And of course, journalists everywhere jumped at the chance to comb through the documents and publicize every detail they could find. But here’s the reality: the president’s ability to lead our country remains the same, and his tax returns never mattered in the first place.

Why Trump’s Tax Returns Don’t Matter

Though frequently debated, the logic here is clear: these tax returns are a superficial distraction and have no bearing on the president’s current abilities or actions.

Here’s why:

  • Tax returns contain private information. First, let’s remember that President Trump is a public official, but he’s still entitled to some degree of privacy for his personal life -- especially his past personal life, before he entered the political arena. Taxes may contain information regarding custodial rights and child support, information sensitive to business operations and transactions, and of course, personal income -- which shouldn’t have a bearing on a person’s political merit.
  • Most returns in question are from the 80s. The recently leaked 2005 tax return doesn’t accomplish Democrats’ main goal -- trying to see tax returns from the 80s. More specifically, Democrats are seeking returns involved in a 1984 trial, where Trump was accused of committing fraud. Admittedly, the trial raised valid questions; Trump claimed zero revenue for his businesses and $600,000 in deductions with no documentation -- plus, his tax preparer admitted to signing the tax return, but refused to admit he prepared the documents. But what does this have to do with the present? This is a trial that’s 33 years old, and the statute of limitations for IRS actions on income tax is a mere three years. What difference would these tax returns make now?
  • Deductions are legal. Some people want to see Trump’s tax returns because they accuse him of unfair and illegal business practices. Some of these are based on a strategy of buying up property in declining neighborhoods, collecting rent from tenants, and writing off the depreciation to make a bigger profit. The ethics of this strategy may be questionable, but again, they have no bearing on the president’s leadership or practices. It’s also important to stress that this strategy is 100 percent legal, whether you like it or not. Utilizing tax deductions doesn’t constitute fraud.  
  • Tax return provision would only lead to something else. The people opposed to Trump’s presidential authority are going to remain opposed no matter what information is provided to them, or what demands are met. Assuming Trump provided all the tax returns in question, including those involved the 1984 trial, nobody would be satisfied. They would find new details in those tax returns to question, request further documentation, or would shift gears to scrutinize some other element of the president’s life.
  • Trump won the election. Trump won, and by no slim margin of electoral college votes. His tax returns were in question long before American voters began to realize that Trump was the leading candidate, and his taxes bore no influence on the outcome of the election. The key takeaway from this is that Trump’s tax returns aren’t important to the majority of American voters. Even if they’re provided now, they aren’t going to change anyone’s mind.

Shifting Our Focus

While the Trump administration continues prioritizing issues of national security and balancing the nation’s budget, the left and the media will likely continue their repeated requests for more information. They’re allowed to do so, but even if more tax returns are publicly released, they won’t change anything. In fact, Trump may leak more tax returns in the coming months to abate these demands and keep his opponents temporarily satisfied.