This Wednesday, the House Ways & Means Committee sent a request to IRS commissioner Charles Rettig to turn over six-years’ worth of Donald Trump’s tax returns. The deadline for the IRS to turn over the documents is April 10.
Massachusetts Democrat Richard Neal announced the move in a statement.
“I today submitted to IRS Commissioner Rettig my request for six years of the president’s personal tax returns as well as the returns for some of his business entities,” Neal said. “We have completed the necessary groundwork for a request of this magnitude and I am certain we are within our legitimate legislative, legal, and oversight rights.”
“We must obtain President Trump’s tax returns and review whether the IRS is carrying out its responsibilities,” he continued. “The Committee has a duty to examine whether Congressional action may be needed to require such audits, and to oversee that they are conducted properly.”
The request opens up a new line of attack in Democrats’ efforts to investigate the President. Trump’s tax returns could yield information about any conflicts of interest he may have involving foreign governments, as well as how he may have benefited from the tax cuts he enacted in 2017.
Trump is the first president in decades to refuse transparency on his tax history, saying that ongoing audits are preventing him from releasing his returns. But according to the IRS, there’s nothing about an audit that prevents a president from releasing them.
As The Hill points out, Trump used the “audit” excuse once again on Wednesday.
“I’m always under audit, it seems,” Trump said. “But I’ve been under audit for many years because the numbers are big, and I guess when you have a name you’re audited.”
From The Hill:
A provision in the federal tax code gives the chairmen of Congress’s tax committees the power to ask for any tax returns and return information and examine them in a closed session. After reviewing the documents privately, a committee could vote to send a report to the full House or Senate, which could make some or all of the tax returns public.
The statute says that the Treasury secretary “shall furnish” the documents, provided that they are reviewed in a closed session. But it’s unclear how quickly the IRS will respond and if they will provide Neal with the documents.
Although Democrats haven’t subpoenaed Trump’s returns, they’re using a lesser-known provision of the law known as “section 6103(f),” which they say authorizes the disclosure of tax returns, VICE News reports.
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