Attention White House wannabes: the IRS audits presidential tax returns every single year
Thursday, March 24, 2016
Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen addressed today's National Press Club luncheon. I wasn't able to get up to my former Washington, D.C., stomping grounds to hear what the commish had to say.
I did, however, the next best thing. I read the transcript of Koskinen's prepared remarks and caught some of the Q&A session highlights via Twitter's #NPCLive stream. (OK, full disclosure, I did this while also periodically sneaking a peak at the muted MLB Network spring training broadcast of the Houston Astros blanking, so far, the New York Mets.)
It's not surprising, given Republican presidential nominee front-runner Donald Trump's refusal to release his tax returns because they're under IRS examination, that an audit remark by Koskinen captured many attendees' attention.
President Barack Obama is the latest Oval Office occupant to have his annual tax filing audited. (Official White House photo)
Every sitting U.S. president's tax return is audited every year, according to Koskinen.
Actually, the IRS also takes a mandatory closer look at Veep returns, too.
Oval Office tax transparency: So all those 1040s released to the public all these years by presidents and vice presidents were being audited by the IRS. Yet those POTUSes and jointly filing FLOTUSes didn't have any qualms about sharing their tax info.
VP Joe Biden (and his wife, Jill) and those who previously held that number two slot also have been just as open.
Just sayin', Donald (may I call you Donald instead of The Donald?), that tax transparency and regular audits are something you might want to think about.
IRS rules on POTUS tax review: While many of the National Press Club event attendees (at least those live tweeting) and I were not aware of this practice -- tax geek mea culpas all around! -- the folks over at BloombergPolitics, specifically Richard Rubin and Angela Greiling Keane, were on the ball.
Back in 2014, Rubin and Keane provided the scoop on the Internal Revenue Manual's "excruciating detail" of how to audit the president.
There are such fun directives as "The returns should be kept in an orange folder at all times."
Also, IRS staff are admonished to "make sure that the original returns are not unnecessarily folded or bent" (included, no doubt, before e-filing was the norm; or are presidents/VPs required to file on paper?) and "edit marks and stamps are neatly placed on the returns, because they will remain permanent documents in the National Archives."
My favorite tidbit? The returns get sent to the IRS offices in Austin, Texas. Wow! All that Oval Office tax history just a few miles from where I fixate daily on tax topics.
I just might have to drive by the Austin IRS campus and gawk with renewed interest.
Also, Donald (may I again call you Donald instead of The Donald?), if you are elected president, I'd be happy to hand deliver your 1040s that are filed from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to the IRS office here in my current hometown.
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