Trump’s tax returns released after years of legal battle

The House Ways and Means Committee released six years of former President Donald Trump’s tax returns, ending the twice-impeached former president’s efforts to shield his finances from public view.

The panel released redacted versions of Mr. Trump’s corporate and personal tax returns for the years 2015, when he announced his candidacy for president in the 2016 election, through 2020, the final year complete of its mandate.

The release of the ex-president’s tax returns finally gives the public a window into his financial situation that was denied during his 2016 presidential campaign and his failed re-election bid in 2020. Mr Trump was the only candidate for president of a major party since the Watergate era to refuse to release his tax returns, although he has often claimed that he cannot do so because they are being audited.

Committee members last week voted along party lines to release Mr. Trump’s statements after redacting them to conceal sensitive data such as Social Security numbers and contact information. The ruling was one of the final acts of the House Tax Drafting and Regulatory Committee after four years of Democratic scrutiny, as the current Democratic majority’s ability to release the documents will expire when the 118th Congress convenes on June 3. January.

The documents could shed light on the rather opaque terms of Mr. Trump’s income and net worth, both of which have been shrouded in secrecy for years. They were obtained just weeks ago after the Supreme Court refused to undertake a last-ditch effort by Mr Trump to block the committee from getting his returns under a century-old law authorizing the chairman of the committees of House Ways and Means or Senate Finances. request any American’s tax return from the Treasury Department.

The incumbent Ways and Means Speaker, Rep. Richard Neal of Massachusetts, initially resisted demands from liberal activists to seek and immediately release Mr. Trump’s feedback when Democrats took control of the House in 2019, but the asked the Treasury Department in April of this year. to determine whether the Internal Revenue Service’s longstanding program to conduct mandatory audits of presidents’ tax returns was working properly.

Under then-Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the department refused to produce the returns despite federal law stipulating that the secretary “shall” honor such requests from the House Ways and Means chairman. Mr. Mnuchin and the Trump administration have defended the refusal to follow long-standing federal law by suggesting that the Democratic president’s reason for asking for them was a pretext to simply expose them to embarrass Mr. Trump.

According to a committee report released earlier this month, the IRS failed to conduct long-needed tax audits of Trump during his presidency, and only launched an audit of his filings. of 2016 – which would have been filed during its first year. at the White House – the day Mr Neal requested copies of the statements in April 2019.

This failure to give proper scrutiny to Mr. Trump’s returns stands in stark contrast to how other presidents have been treated by the IRS. White House spokespersons and former President Barack Obama have confirmed that President Joe Biden and Mr. Obama have both had their taxes audited by the IRS in each year they have been in the White House .

A separate report on the statements by the Joint Committee on Taxation suggested that there are several areas where Mr. Trump’s statements could have been flagged for violation, including the tax deductions he took based on donations. conservation and charity, purported loans to his children that might have been listed as such to avoid gift tax and carried forward business losses.

Although Mr. Trump has not been charged with any criminal tax violations, two of his companies were found guilty of criminal tax evasion by a New York court earlier this month.

The convictions came after his longtime partner, Mazars USA partner Donald Bender, told jurors that Mr Trump had reported massive losses on his returns over a ten-year period, including a $700 million loss. dollars in 2009 and a loss of $200 million the following year.

This is a developing story. More follows…

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