Legislation

Key Democrat demands IRS release six years of Trump’s personal, business tax returns

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal has formally requested President Donald Trump’s tax returns from the Internal Revenue Service, likely launching a battle with the administration that could stretch months or even years in the courts and could shed light on the president’s finances.In a letter to the IRS sent Wednesday and first obtained by CNN, Neal cites a little known IRS code in his request for six years of Trump’s personal tax returns from 2013 to 2018. He also requested the tax returns of eight of Trump’s business entities, a nod to escalating pressure from liberals in the caucus who have argued that Trump’s personal returns wouldn’t sufficiently paint a picture of the President’s financial history.Trump said Wednesday that he wouldn’t be inclined to provide his tax returns to Congress until he was no longer under audit.Asked about the request for six years of his tax returns, Trump said, “Is that all? Oh, usually it’s 10, so I guess they’re giving up.””Now, we’re under audit, despite what people said. We’re working that out as — I’m always under audit it seems. But I’ve been under audit because the numbers are big and I guess when you have a name you’re audited. But until such time as I’m not under audit I would not be inclined to do that,” he added during a White House meeting with military leaders.While the move will largely be seen by Republicans as a political escalation, Neal explained in the letter the request is part of his oversight role. Neal wrote that the committee needed Trump’s tax returns to consider legislation related to the IRS’s practice of auditing sitting presidents.”Under the Internal Revenue Manual, individual income tax returns of a President are subject to mandatory examination, but this practice is IRS policy and not codified in the Federal tax laws,” Neal wrote in a letter to the IRS. “It is necessary for the committee to determine the scope of any such examination and whether it includes a review of underlying business activities required to be reported on the individual income tax return.”In a statement to CNN, Neal stressed that the committee’s request was about “policy, not politics.””My preparations were made on my own track and timeline, entirely independent of other activities in Congress and the administration,” Neal said. “My actions reflect an abiding reverence for our democracy and our institutions, and are in no way based on emotion of the moment or partisanship. I trust that in this spirit, the IRS will comply with federal law and furnish me with the requested documents in a timely manner.”Neal has given the IRS until April 10 to comply with the request. Neal’s announcement follows a months-long debate within the Ways and Means Committee about how and when to issue the request for Trump’s tax returns.Unlike other sensitive material Democratic chairmen have demanded from the Trump administration, the request for Trump’s tax returns could only come from one Democrat on Capitol Hill. Under IRS code 6103, only the Joint Committee on Taxation, the House Ways and Means chairman and the Senate Finance Committee chairman have the authority to request the tax information of an individual. Given the Senate Finance Committee Chuck Grassley has long said requesting Trump’s tax returns would be akin to weaponizing the tax-writing committee, the ask fell to Neal.But, behind the scenes, Neal was meticulous about the decision. Democrats believe the statute is clear. Under the code, it says “the secretary shall furnish such committee with any return or return information specified in such request.” But, Neal, a pragmatic and judicious chairman more interested in working with the administration on shared priorities like infrastructure then launching a contentious, partisan fight that could define his tenure, proceeded cautiously.”I am certain we are within our legitimate legislative, legal and oversight rights,” Neal said in his statement Wednesday.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal has formally requested President Donald Trump’s tax returns from the Internal Revenue Service, likely launching a battle with the administration that could stretch months or even years in the courts and could shed light on the president’s finances.

Advertisement

In a letter to the IRS sent Wednesday and first obtained by CNN, Neal cites a little known IRS code in his request for six years of Trump’s personal tax returns from 2013 to 2018. He also requested the tax returns of eight of Trump’s business entities, a nod to escalating pressure from liberals in the caucus who have argued that Trump’s personal returns wouldn’t sufficiently paint a picture of the President’s financial history.

Trump said Wednesday that he wouldn’t be inclined to provide his tax returns to Congress until he was no longer under audit.

Asked about the request for six years of his tax returns, Trump said, “Is that all? Oh, usually it’s 10, so I guess they’re giving up.”

“Now, we’re under audit, despite what people said. We’re working that out as — I’m always under audit it seems. But I’ve been under audit because the numbers are big and I guess when you have a name you’re audited. But until such time as I’m not under audit I would not be inclined to do that,” he added during a White House meeting with military leaders.

While the move will largely be seen by Republicans as a political escalation, Neal explained in the letter the request is part of his oversight role. Neal wrote that the committee needed Trump’s tax returns to consider legislation related to the IRS’s practice of auditing sitting presidents.

“Under the Internal Revenue Manual, individual income tax returns of a President are subject to mandatory examination, but this practice is IRS policy and not codified in the Federal tax laws,” Neal wrote in a letter to the IRS. “It is necessary for the committee to determine the scope of any such examination and whether it includes a review of underlying business activities required to be reported on the individual income tax return.”

In a statement to CNN, Neal stressed that the committee’s request was about “policy, not politics.”

“My preparations were made on my own track and timeline, entirely independent of other activities in Congress and the administration,” Neal said. “My actions reflect an abiding reverence for our democracy and our institutions, and are in no way based on emotion of the moment or partisanship. I trust that in this spirit, the IRS will comply with federal law and furnish me with the requested documents in a timely manner.”

Neal has given the IRS until April 10 to comply with the request.

Neal’s announcement follows a months-long debate within the Ways and Means Committee about how and when to issue the request for Trump’s tax returns.

Unlike other sensitive material Democratic chairmen have demanded from the Trump administration, the request for Trump’s tax returns could only come from one Democrat on Capitol Hill. Under IRS code 6103, only the Joint Committee on Taxation, the House Ways and Means chairman and the Senate Finance Committee chairman have the authority to request the tax information of an individual. Given the Senate Finance Committee Chuck Grassley has long said requesting Trump’s tax returns would be akin to weaponizing the tax-writing committee, the ask fell to Neal.

But, behind the scenes, Neal was meticulous about the decision. Democrats believe the statute is clear. Under the code, it says “the secretary shall furnish such committee with any return or return information specified in such request.” But, Neal, a pragmatic and judicious chairman more interested in working with the administration on shared priorities like infrastructure then launching a contentious, partisan fight that could define his tenure, proceeded cautiously.

“I am certain we are within our legitimate legislative, legal and oversight rights,” Neal said in his statement Wednesday.


Go to Source
Author:

Powered by WPeMatico