Release the Returns: A Little Tax Help for Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump



There are many things Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump have in common; not the least of which is an appeal to large audiences of angry crowds that are mostly male and largely white.

But what really binds Trump and Sanders in a thread of political camaraderie is a belief the normal rules of politics and good government don't apply to them. Donald Trump has been hiding his tax returns behind a supposed audit - which is likely a lie, and Bernie Sanders keeps telling us that he will be happy to release his tax returns, "soon". How soon? Well, soon. Sanders's campaign manager said on a press call this week that when it comes to the tax returns, “only thing to say is soon. We’re working on it.”

The Sanderses have been "working on it" since 2015, though, and it has been over two weeks since Bernie Sanders promised to release 10 years of returns, "soon."

No one seems to know what the hold up is. In 2016, when Sanders released only one year of tax returns without attachments or schedules, Bernie Sanders' wife Jane Sanders - who both Sanderses say do their tax returns, told Bloomberg that she uses Turbo Tax to file their returns, and despite Jane Sanders' insistence the couple needed to "be home" to find copies of their tax returns, electronic filers like Turbo Tax actually saves copies of your tax returns within their systems, so you don't even have to rifle through paper copies.

Isn't that cool?

But I figured. You know, maybe despite having a young, tech savvy campaign staff, Bernie just doesn't know how to get and release copies of his tax returns while he's away from home. And maybe the man who will bring peace to the Middle East, Jared Kushner, just hasn't got around to explaining it to his twitler father in law. So I thought, I would help.

You know, just to be helpful. Because I'm helpful like that.

Option 1: Get your tax transcripts or returns straight from the IRS!

Did you know the IRS keeps a copy of your past tax returns, and that you can get them for free or very little money? Well, it does, and you can!

Transcripts are free and go back 3 years. Transcripts list most lines of tax returns as well as schedules. Here's how to get one:

  • Order online, using the Get Transcript tool. This is the fastest route, and takes between 5-10 days to get it electronically.
  • Order by phone or online to get it by mail, by calling 800-908-9946 or by completing this request.
  • Complete and send either 4506-T or 4506T-EZ to the IRS.
IRS can also produce copies of actual tax returns going back six years for a fee of $50 per return. All Bernie and Trump would need to do complete and send in form 4506. The IRS' website seems a little outdated on how far back one can go with this form, which the website says is six years. However, in more good news for Sanders and Trump, the form itself has room to request returns for eight years, and instructs the taxpayer to attach a second form of they need to go back more.

Maybe Bernie Sanders can spend a couple hundred of the millions he's been making per year since the 2016 election to get these returns?

Option 2: Get copies from Turbo Tax (or another online filer)!

If Jane Sanders wasn't lying about filing the Sanders family returns through Turbo tax, more good news, Turbo Tax keeps a copy! You will need to have their paid version at $59.99, but the process is pretty simple. Turbo Tax has explained in a simple chart that I just can't beat.


Pretty much all other tax filing systems have a similar scheme.

By the way, might I suggest to Jane and Bernie that they start keeping PDF copies of their tax returns? Ask your campaign staff. It really is easier.

Because I'm such a helpful helper, I am also offering my assistance to Bernie and Jane should they need any help. Just go to the Contact page here and shoot me a message, Senator! Hope to hear from you soon.