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Does the public have the right to look at a candidate's tax returns?
July 16th, 2012
02:50 PM ET

Does the public have the right to look at a candidate's tax returns?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Some Republicans and Democrats have finally found a topic they can agree on: Mitt Romney's tax returns.

Romney is coming under fire from both sides of the aisle for releasing only two years of his tax returns.

President Obama and the Democrats are trying to turn it into a major campaign issue, suggesting there's something in those returns that Romney - who's worth more than $200 million - doesn't want Americans to see.

And it's not just Democrats. Alabama's Republican Governor Robert Bentley, conservative columnist Bill Bristol and former George W. Bush aide Matthew Dowd all say Romney should release additional returns.

Some Republicans think the sooner Romney makes this stuff public, the sooner the issue will go away.

President Obama has released 12 years worth of tax returns - they're all posted on his campaign website. And Mitt romney's father - George Romney - also released 12 years of tax returns when he ran for president in 1968.

For his part Romney is standing his ground. He told the F-word network today that his rivals want to "make a mountain" out of the issue. Romney said he will release only two years of tax returns which is what John McCain did in 2008.

If the IRS is OK with Mitt Romney's tax returns and no laws have been broken, one could make the argument that it's nobody's business.

Romney says all of this is a distraction from the real issues of the campaign.

And that's the whole problem for Romney. The more the focus stays on tax returns, Romney's wealth, his offshore investments, etc. the less people are focused on the economy.

And the economy is an issue where President Obama is vulnerable.

Here’s my question to you: Does the public have the right to look at a candidate's tax returns?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Tax Returns
December 16th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Could you pass an IRS audit?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

If you're scrambling to do some end-of-the-year tax planning, you might want to consider this:

The Internal Revenue Service increased the number of returns it audited by 11 percent this year - that's according to the Associated Press.

The tax agency was most likely to target wealthy taxpayers and big businesses; but it also audited more charities and other tax-exempt groups.

In total - the IRS audited more than 1.58 million individual returns; up from 1.43 million the year before. Officials say it's the highest rate of individual audits in the last decade.

And, that translates to more than one percent of individual returns that were audited. But the richer you are, the more likely you are to get audited:

Those making more than $1 million had an audit rate of more than eight percent; and people making more than $200,000 had an audit rate of more than three percent.

As the country struggles to come up with a solution for our skyrocketing national debt, "tax reform" is a phrase we hear more and more often.

Undergoing an IRS audit is only a slightly bigger nightmare than making your way through our ridiculously complex tax code.

The problem with tax reform is there's a powerful lobby in Washington representing tax lawyers, accountants and money managers who will probably fight any effort at reform tooth and nail.

So for this year, you better get it right the way it is.

Here’s my question to you: Could you pass an IRS audit?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 6pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.


Filed under: Tax Returns • Taxes
March 27th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

How would you change income tax laws?

ALT TEXT

Americans are currently preparing for next month’s income tax filing deadline whether using tax software, filing on paper forms or using a tax preparer. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

With this year's tax deadline quickly approaching, President Obama is tackling tax reform. He's creating a task force to propose ways to simplify the tax code, reduce evasion, close loopholes and make changes in corporate tax breaks. But, their main goal is to raise revenue.

The task force, headed by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, has only a couple of constraints: President Obama says they can't propose tax increases for 2009 and 2010; and after 2010, they can't propose tax increases on families making less than $250,000.

It's estimated there's a $300 billion a year tax gap - which is the difference between what taxpayers owe and what they actually pay. The biggest reason for this gap is under reporting of income. This isn't always intentional; sometimes it comes from honest mistakes by filers who are confused by a very complex tax code. The group is also expected to suggest ways to simplify different kinds of tax credits.

The tax task force will present its proposals to the president in early December. Then it will be a question of getting Congress to sign off on any changes.

Here’s my question to you: What changes would you make to the income tax laws?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Tax Returns • Taxes
February 28th, 2008
05:59 PM ET

Full disclosure from Clinton?

 Click the play button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say.

Click the play button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say.

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

There's a lot of information voters still don't have about Hillary Clinton, including the White House records from when she was first lady along with her tax returns.

When asked at this week's debate about the White House records, Clinton said she would "absolutely" release the documents to show the public what she did and who she met with over the course of those 8 years. She said she's quote "urged the process be as quick as possible."

Well, the Bush administration now says it's actually the Clintons who have been holding up the release of those records. They say former President Bill Clinton's representative hasn't made any move yet to release over 11-thousand pages of records. The Clinton campaign says it may take two more weeks for that representative to decide what to release and then to request the release of the documents from the White House. How convenient – that would be after next Tuesday when Texas and Ohio hold their primaries.

As for the tax returns, Hillary Clinton also said at the debate she would release them once she becomes the nominee "or even earlier."

But her campaign seems to be backing away from that statement now, suggesting Clinton won't release the financial information until tax time in April. When Clinton loaned her own campaign $5 million, Barack Obama suggested she should follow his lead and release her tax returns so the public could see where the money came from.

Here’s my question to you: How important is it for Hillary Clinton to release her tax returns and White House records now?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Tax Returns