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This is somewhat related to this question, but I don't think it's a duplicate. Also, there's a chance that this would be better suited on Law Stack Exchange. With Trump's attempts to prevent his taxes from being released; some have speculated that it would show things such as tax fraud, money laundering, illegal business practices, etc. But if the tax returns contained evidence of any illegal activity, wouldn't he have already been charged with such things by the IRS when the taxes were first filed?

I understand of course that the tax returns could contain information that is damaging to him in the election, but is it a realistic possibility that they contain actual evidence of illegal activity?

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    Of course it's possible. I imagine it's even likely — based on past behavior — that Trump has played a bit fast and loose with his taxes over the years. It's more likely that he would be subject to fines and penalties than criminal prosecution (it's actually quite difficult to suffer criminal charges over financial indiscretions, given the nature of the modern corporation, and Trump has more than enough lawyers and accountants to keep on the right side of that). But his reticence may just be that he's not as wealthy as he claims to be, or doesn't want his doing looked at too closely. – Ted Wrigley Oct 16 at 21:36
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    In any case, any answer would be pure speculation. Personally, I suspect that Trump merely has that 'bully' mindset where he thinks he gets to look at other people, but other people don't get to look at him. Staring is the most primitive form of aggression; every predator knows it. – Ted Wrigley Oct 16 at 21:39
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    Short of tax fraud, evidence of illegal activity seems unlikely. As you suspect, if his accountants were foolhardy enough to report such activity on his taxes, it would likely have already been forwarded to the proper authorities by the IRS. As the IRS is (allegedly) currently auditing his taxes, there is even an elevated chance that tax fraud is present, but since he's had his taxes audited multiple times before, it is likely to also only result in a fine at worst. Most likely his taxes will just show things that are bad for his credibility and/or image, or expose conflicts of interest. – cpcodes Oct 16 at 21:41
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    Trump is actually currently being investigated for breaking tax law, but IRS investigations are extremely slow, particularly when the suspect is wealthy, so it's been underway since 2011 without resolution. – divibisan Oct 16 at 21:59
  • I feel like if this question was received as calling for speculation, then it's because I didn't phrase it well enough. I was asking about the legal system in America, whether evidence of illegal activity on tax returns would result in legal penalties taken by the IRS who has access to that evidence. I wasn't asking for speculation as to whether or not Trump's taxes contain such evidence. – GendoIkari Oct 17 at 4:55

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