Long Islanders will join thousands of Americans this weekend participating in “Tax March” rallies intended to discredit President Donald Trump’s claims that the public is apathetic when it comes to his returns, which he refused to reveal in the run-up to the presidential election and continues to withhold from the public.
Members of the so-called Trump “Resistance” are organizing rallies across the country, including outside Internal Revenue Service (IRS) buildings in Hauppauge and Bethpage, which happen to coincide with the country’s most-scorned date of the year: April 15th, Tax Day.
In the spirit of transparency, demonstrators plan to call on the president to finally produce his tax returns so the public can have a greater understanding of the self-declared billionaire’s sprawling business interests, including any financial ties to foreign countries.
“Let’s send a clear message to the President: ‘SHOW US YOUR TAX RETURNS!’” reads a Facebook event for Saturday’s Bethpage rally. “The President is accountable to the American people. We care, and we’re not going away!”
Demonstrations are planned across the country, including in Washington, D.C., where protesters will march from the Capitol building to the Lincoln Memorial.
“You work for us,” the message to Trump on the Tax March website reads. “And we demand answers.”
Throughout the presidential campaign, then-candidate Trump vacillated on the issue of releasing his tax returns: in one breath saying he’d acquiesce and in another he claimed that an IRS audit prevented him from doing so, a justification thoroughly debunked by neutral observers.
Trump broke with a four-decade-old tradition of presidential candidates’ releasing their returns to the American public. The list includes President Richard Nixon, who was also under an audit but made his documents available anyway.
Among some of the reasons given for concealing the documents was Trump’s assertions that Americans are not interested in his returns, that they’re so voluminous that the layman would be unqualified to come to a knowledgeable conclusion about the documents’ contents, and that only reporters have expressed interest in Trump’s returns.
Despite what Trump says, many national polls show that a majority of Americans would prefer he reveal his tax returns.
A Pew Research Center survey released 10 days prior to Trump’s inauguration found that 60 percent of respondents said the president has a responsibility to release them, compared with only 33 percent who said he did not.
Surveys released in the final months of the presidential campaign similarly found public interest in Trump’s returns, including a Sept. 7 Fox News poll in which 60 percent of respondents said “yes” when asked: “Do you think Donald Trump is hiding something in his tax returns?” Not surprisingly, Democrats overwhelmingly agreed with that premise as opposed to little more than one-third of Republicans who were surveyed.
Americans have only seen small snippets of Trump’s past tax returns. In October, The New York Times reported that Trump reported a $916 million loss on his 1995 tax returns. Such a dramatic loss could have, in theory, allowed Trump to pay nothing in federal income taxes for 18 years, the Times reported.
In March, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow reported that Trump paid $38 million in federal taxes, according to his 2005 1040 form.
On the legislative side, some Congressional Democrats have said they’d refuse to act on any Trump tax reform proposal until they have an opportunity to review the president’s returns to determine what impact changes to the tax code would have on his private finances. Trump has identified tax reform as a major policy objective of his early presidency.
The rally in Bethpage will run from 10:30 a.m. until noon at the IRS office at 999 Stewart Ave. The Trump tax protest in Hauppauge runs from noon until 1:30 p.m. at the IRS location at 1180 Veterans Memorial Highway.