David Cay Johnston, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and professor at Syracuse University, is essential reading during this election season. He's doing the work no one else is: concentrating on the candidates' taxes.
That includes calling out Bernie Sanders for not releasing his full returns and schedules (while Hillary Clinton has released hers going back decades), and most recently this article on what little is known about Donald Trump's taxes. Especially how little he pays.
It seems Trump appealed two tax decisions in favor of New York State and New York City back in 1984, and that means some of his records from that tax year are public. Trump declared $0 in income on his schedule C, yet manged to have over $600,000 in expenses.
Somehow, the judges in his appeals didn't find his arguments persuasive, and Trump never appealed any of his future audits and penalties. He may have had penalties from the IRS that year, too, but there's no way to know since he didn't appeal it.
It also appears Trump swapped out his return and forged his CPA's signature that year also, but in the grand scheme of things, that's nothing compared to paying no taxes.
Johnston ends by making a point larger than Donald Trump's unwillingness to make his tax returns public:
[up until] the 1920s tax returns were public record and newspapers routinely reported the precise income and tax paid by prominent Americans.I'm for that. It's time to legally require the level of tax disclosures that have happened voluntarily for the past 40 years in presidential elections.
Congress could simply add a one-line amendment to Section 6103 of the tax code, which makes returns confidential, providing that the nominee of any party whose name appears on the ballot in say 10 or more states will have his or her complete tax returns, for as many years as the IRS has copies, posted on the IRS website.