U.S. Presidents and candidates have historically made their tax returns a matter of public record. This practice wasn’t typical, how-ever, until the late 1960s. While campaigning in the 1968 presidential election, George Romney released 12 years of his returns after being pressured by reporters. This set a precedent, and every president since Richard Nixon has made their tax returns public, with the exception of Gerald Ford, who only released a summary of his returns from 1966 through 1974.
Nixon was audited by the IRS in 1973, because of a questionable charitable donation and speculation that he was trying to game the system. This led to one of his most famous quotes, that many people assume was related to the Watergate Scandal, which was happening around the same time. It was his tax troubles that made Nixon say “People have got to know whether or not their president is a crook. Well, I am not a crook.”
A congressional investigation ultimately found that Nixon actually owed $476,431.00 in unpaid taxes and accrued interest.