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Pence said ready to release tax returns, as Trump withholds

[WASHINGTON] Republican vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence planned to release his tax returns Friday, said a person familiar with the decision, which may place new pressure on Donald Trump to release his own returns.

Mr Trump has said he will release his taxes - as major-party nominees have done over the past four decades - once the Internal Revenue Service completes an audit.

For Mr Pence, who said Sunday he would release his returns sometime this week, it's another example of the more traditional campaign style he brings to the billionaire's ticket.

Democrats led by presidential nominee Hillary Clinton have lambasted Mr Trump's withholding of his returns, saying voters deserve the information his returns would provide about his businesses, tax rate, and charitable giving.

MSNBC reported earlier that Mr Pence was planning to release his returns Friday. Mr Trump's campaign didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mrs Clinton and her husband, former president Bill Clinton, earned adjusted gross income of US$10.6 million in 2015 and paid US$3.6 million in federal income taxes, according to a tax return her campaign released last month - after previously releasing eight years of returns in 2015.

No law prevents Mr Trump from releasing returns that are under audit, though allies have cited advice from lawyers that it would be unwise for him to do so. Mr Trump has said another condition under which he'd release the information is if Mrs Clinton released e-mails that were deleted from the private server she used as secretary of state, an arrangement that has emerged as one of her biggest political liabilities and one the FBI director called careless.

More than 4 in 10 likely voters are bothered a lot by Mr Trump's decision not to release his returns yet, according to a Bloomberg Politics poll in August; 24 per cent said it bothered them a little, and 31 per cent said it didn't bother them at all.

Mr Pence, the Indiana governor and a former US House member and radio host, is often dispatched to reassure conservatives about the man at the top of the ticket seeking elected office for the first time and riling many Republicans along the way.

Mr Pence, 57, has said his tax returns will stand in stark contrast to Mr Trump's wealth, quipping they'll be a "quick read" that depict a middle-class life in public service. He and his wife, a teacher named Karen, have three children.