(CNSNews.com) - "We have a system of taxation in this country that is horribly wrong," Dr. Ben Carson said at Thursday night's debate. He wants to "ret rid of" the Internal Revenue Service.
"You know, I never had an audit until I spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast, and then all of a sudden, they came in, they said we just want to look at your real estate dealings." (Carson's well-received speech at the National Prayer Breakfast in 2013 launched his political career.)
"And then they didn't find anything, so they said let's look at the whole year. And they didn't find anything, so they said let's look at the next year and the next year. They didn't find anything and they won't find anything because I'm a very honest person.
"But the fact of the matter is, the IRS is not hones, and we need to get rid of them."
Carson was applauded for the remark.
With most of the debate centering on Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz, Carson drew laughter at one point when he begged someone to insult him, so he could get a word in edgewise.
"Can somebody attack me, please?" Carson asked. The debate rules allow candidates to respond when they're criticized by name.
Trump: 'I've been audited every year'
Trump also complained about being audited. In fact, he used the audit as a reason not to release his much-anticipated tax returns.
"As far as my return, I want to file it, except for many years, I've been audited every year. Twelve years, or something like that. Every year they audit me, audit me, audit me.
"Nobody gets audited -- I have friends that are very wealthy people. They never get audited. I get audited every year. 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, obviously. And I think people would understand that."
Moderator Wolf Blitzer raised the issue, noted that Mitt Romney has called on Trump to release his back tax returns, even suggesting that there may be a "bombshell" in them.
"Romney said either you're not as wealthy as you say you are, said maybe you haven't paid the kind of taxes we would expect you to pay, or you haven't been giving the money to veterans or disabled people. Are any of those accusations that he has leveled true?," Blitzer asked Trump.
"All right. First of all, let me just explain. I was the first one to file a financial disclosure form -- almost 100 pages. You don't learn anything about somebody's wealth with a tax return. You learn it from statements.
I filed -- which shows that I'm worth over $10 billion. I built a great company with very little debt. People were shocked, the people in the back, the reporters, they were shocked when they went down. And I filed it on time. I didn't ask for five, 45-day extensions, which I would have been entitled to.
"So as far as that's concerned, I filed it. And that's where you find out what kind of a company. You don't learn anything from a tax return."