Trump tax returns released after long battle with US Congress

A Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives committee on Friday released six years of former President Donald Trump’s tax returns in an extraordinary move, days before Republicans took control of the chamber. .

The release of Trump’s redacted statements for 2015-2020 ends a years-long battle between the former Republican president and Democratic lawmakers that was only settled last month by the U.S. Supreme Court.

It is the latest blow to Trump, 76, who was impeached twice by the Democratic-led House only to be acquitted both times by the US Senate, and now faces multiple legal issues as he is mounting a candidacy for re-election in 2024.

Earlier this month, the House committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the United States Capitol called on federal prosecutors to charge him with four crimes, including obstruction and ‘insurrection.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal requested the returns in 2019, arguing that Congress needed them to determine whether legislation on presidential tax returns was warranted.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, center, speaks to the media after the committee voted on Friday to release years of Trump’s tax returns. Neal is flanked by Democratic representatives Judy Chu and Mike Thompson, both from California. (J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press)

Republicans said the move could lead to the political weaponization of personal tax filings and warned that party members who take over the panel next month will face pressure to follow a similar course against top Democrats.

Trump, who took office in 2017, was the first presidential candidate in decades not to release his taxes. He sued the committee to try to keep them private, but the US high court ruled in favor of the committee.

Timely IRS Audits Not Performed

In a report last week, the committee presented the findings of its review of the documents, saying the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) broke its own rules by not auditing Trump for three out of four years while he was President.

Details previously released by the panel showed Trump paid no income tax in 2020, his last full year in office, despite earning millions of dollars from his sprawling business empire.

Records show that Trump’s income and tax liabilities fluctuated widely from 2015 to 2020, during his first presidential bid and subsequent term. They show that Trump and his wife, Melania Trump, claimed large deductions and losses, and paid little or no income tax for many of those years.

Democrats had a tight schedule to figure out a way to handle the returns once they get them, given that Republicans will take control of the House on Tuesday after winning a narrow majority in November’s midterm elections.

The House passed a bill before it left for its winter recess that would require the tax-collecting IRS to conduct audits of presidents’ tax returns within 90 days of the inauguration.


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