Donald Trump

US House committee releases Trump tax returns, capping years-long battle

Reuters
US House committee releases Trump tax returns, capping years-long battle

DONALD TRUMP. Donald Trump departs Trump Tower two days after FBI agents raided his Mar-a-Lago Palm Beach home, in New York City, New york, USA, on August 10, 2022.

David 'Dee' Delgado/Reuters

Details previously released by the panel show Trump paid no income tax in 2020, despite millions of dollars in earnings from his sprawling business empire

A Democratic-controlled US House of Representatives committee released six years of former president Donald Trump’s tax returns to the public on Friday, December 30, in an extraordinary move days before Republicans are due to take control of the chamber.

The release of Trump’s redacted returns for 2015 through 2020 caps a multi-year battle between the Republican former president and Democratic lawmakers that was settled only last month by the US Supreme Court.

Trump’s tax data will now be available for in-depth investigations by journalists, independent tax experts, and others during the run-up to the 2024 presidential election and could shed light on Trump’s wealth, his businesses’ performance, and ways he reduced his tax liability.

The records show Trump’s income and tax liability fluctuated dramatically from 2015 through 2020, during his first presidential bid and subsequent term in office. They show Trump and his wife Melania Trump claimed large deductions and losses and paid little or no income tax in several of those years.

Democrats said previously that an examination had shown lax oversight of Trump’s returns by the tax-collecting Internal Revenue Service.

“Our findings turned out to be simple – IRS did not begin their mandatory audit of the former president until I made my initial request,” House Ways and Means committee chairman Richard Neal said in a statement.

Neal first requested the returns in 2019, arguing that Congress needed them to determine if legislation on presidential tax returns was warranted.

It was the latest blow for 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 woes as he mounts a 2024 reelection bid.

Earlier this month, the House committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol by his supporters asked federal prosecutors to charge him with four crimes including obstruction and insurrection for his role in the deadly riot.

Trump responds

Trump played down the importance of the release of his returns in a videotaped statement released on Friday and accompanied by a request for campaign donations.

“Although these tax returns contain relatively little information and not information that almost anybody would understand – they’re extremely complex – the radical Democrats’ behavior is a shame upon the US Congress,” the former president said.

Aside from the returns themselves, the release did not contain much new beyond committee findings disclosed last week in a report saying the IRS broke its own rules by not auditing Trump for three out of four years while he was president.

Representative Kevin Brady, the House panel’s top Republican, warned that future committee chairmen will have “nearly unlimited” power to make public the tax returns of “private citizens, political enemies, business and labor leaders, or even the Supreme Court justices themselves.”

“In the long run, Democrats will come to regret it,” Brady said in a statement.

Trump, who took office in 2017, was the first presidential candidate in decades not to release his tax returns. He sued the committee to try to keep them private, but the US high court ruled in the committee’s favor. Details previously released by the panel showed Trump paid no income tax in 2020, his final full year in office, despite millions of dollars in earnings from his sprawling business empire.

Democrats were on a tight timeline to find a way to handle the returns once they obtained them, given that Republicans will take control of the House on Tuesday, December 27, after winning a slim majority in November’s midterm elections.

The Democratic-controlled House passed a bill before it left on its winter recess that would mandate that the tax-collecting Internal Revenue Service complete audits of presidents’ tax filings within 90 days of their inaugurations. – Rappler.com

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