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White House Says Trump Won't Release 2016 Tax Returns

| by Lauren Briggs

As another tax season came to a close, President Donald Trump still has no plans to release his returns any time soon, the White House said.

"The president is under audit," White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters on April 17, according to The Huffington Post. "It’s a routine one. It continues. And I think that the American public know clearly where he stands. This is something that he made very clear during the election cycle. We're under the same audit that existed, and so nothing has changed."

Thousands of Trump opponents have protested the president's decision not to release his returns, while more than 1 million people have signed an online petition urging him to make his taxes public.

"The unprecedented economic conflicts of this administration need to be visible to the American people, including any pertinent documentation which can reveal the foreign influences and financial interests which may put Donald Trump in conflict with the emoluments clause of the Constitution," reads the "We The People" petition, which was created on Trump's Jan. 20 inauguration day.

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The White House did not specifically speak to the protests or the petition, though Spicer maintained that nothing has changed since Trump ran for president.

"I think the president's view on this has been very clear from the campaign, and the American people understood it when they elected him in November," said Spicer, according to Business Insider.

When asked by a reporter at the press conference whether Trump would ever release his taxes once the audits are completed, Spicer said, "We will have to get back to you on that."

Since the days of President Richard Nixon and the Watergate scandal, all presidents have been subject to an automatic, fast-tracked audit, so Trump's returns are not expected to be any different, notes The Hill. The IRS has stated that being under audit would not prevent an individual from publicly releasing their returns, although some experts say that doing so might be in poor judgment from a business stance.

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"I'm sure a careful tax attorney would advise him not to disclose it in the middle of an audit," Joseph Thorndike, director of the Tax History Project at Tax Analysts, told USA Today in February 2016. "But an attorney would say not to disclose it anytime ... It's a willingness to say 'I'm asking for your trust, and I'm willing to provide this information to earn your trust.'"

Sources: The Huffington Post, Business Insider, USA Today, The Hill, We The People / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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