Donald Trump is unable to release his tax returns because he’s undergoing a “very routine” but “very unfair” audit, he said during Thursday’s GOP presidential debate.
“As far as my return, I want to file it,” Trump said. “For many years I’ve been audited every year. For 12 years, something like that. Every year they audit me, audit me, audit me.”
The Republican front-runner was asked during the debate, which was held in Houston and hosted by CNN, about 2012 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s recent remarks that he believes that the real estate billionaire has resisted releasing his taxes because there’s “a bombshell” in them.
“I will absolutely give my return, but I’m being audited now for two or three years so I can’t do it until the audit is finished,” Trump said.
Trump’s claim about the audits is the first time he’s made it to explain why he hasn’t released his taxes.
Texas Sen. [crscore]Ted Cruz[/crscore] jumped on Trump’s audit explanation, asserting that Republican voters should be wary of putting forth a candidate whose finances may be picked apart by Democrats and the mainstream media.
“Donald says he’s being audited,” Cruz began. “Well I would think that would underscore the need to release those returns. If he has said something that was false and that an audit would find is fraudulent then the voters need to know.”
“They’re going to pick apart his taxes, they’re going to pick apart his business deals,” he continued, adding later that if Trump’s taxes are already prepared, “the only reason he’s not releasing them is he’s afraid.”
“Oh, I’m not afraid,” Trump responded.
“It’s a very routine audit,” he said. “It’s very unfair, because I’ve been audited, I think, for 12 years.