A Democrat-controlled committee of the United States House of Representatives on Friday released six years of former President Donald Trump’s tax returns in an extraordinary move, just days before Republicans will take control of the chamber.
The release of Trump’s edited returns for 2015 through 2020 concludes a nearly four-year battle between the former Republican president and Democratic lawmakers that was only settled by the U.S. Supreme Court last month.
It is the final blow to the 76-year-old Trump, who was twice impeached by the Democrat-led House but acquitted both times by the Senate, and now faces multiple legal woes as he mounts a 2024 re-election bid.
Earlier this month, the House of Representatives committee investigated the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol by Trump supporters asked federal prosecutors to charge him with four crimes, including obstruction and insurrection, for his role in the deadly riot.
Richard Neal, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, requested the returns in 2019, arguing that Congress needed them to determine whether legislation on presidential tax returns was warranted.
Republicans said the move could lead to the political arming of individual tax returns and warned party members who take over the panel next month will come under pressure to follow a similar path against high-profile Democrats.
Trump, who took office in 2017, was the first presidential candidate in decades not to release his taxes. He had fought a legal battle to keep them a secret while in the White House. But the Supreme Court ruled last month that he had to turn them over to the Ways and Means Committee for Tax Writing.
In a report last week, the commission outlined its findings from its examination of the documents and said the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) broke its own rules by failing to audit Trump for three of the four years while he was president.
The IRS only began reviewing Trump’s 2016 tax returns on April 3, 2019 — more than two years into his presidency — when the committee chair, Rep. Richard Neal, a Democrat from Massachusetts, asked the agency for information related to the tax returns. .
By comparison, there were audits of President Joe Biden for the 2020 and 2021 tax years, Andrew Bates, a White House spokesman, said. A spokesman for former President Barack Obama said Obama was scrutinized in each of his eight years in office.
A report by the impartial Congressional Joint Taxation Committee raised multiple red flags about aspects of Trump’s tax returns, including his carry forward losses, deductions related to conservation and charitable donations, and loans to his children that could be taxable gifts.
Details previously released by the panel showed that Trump paid no income taxes in 2020, his last full year in office, despite millions of dollars in revenue from his sprawling business empire.
The data shows that Trump’s income and tax liability fluctuated dramatically between 2015 and 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 in some of those years.
The returns probably provide the clearest picture yet of Trump’s finances during his term.
Trump, known for building skyscrapers and hosting a reality TV show before winning the White House, gave some limited details about his assets and income on mandatory disclosure forms. He has promoted his wealth in the financial statements he provides to banks to secure loans and to financial magazines to secure his place in the rankings of the world’s billionaires.
Trump’s old accounting firm has since disavowed the statements, and New York Attorney General Letitia James has filed a lawsuit alleging that Trump and his Trump organization inflated the asset values on the statements as part of a years-long fraud. . Trump and company have denied any wrongdoing.
The Trump Organization was convicted of separate tax fraud charges earlier this month for helping some executives evade taxes on perks paid by the company, such as apartments and luxury cars.
Democrats were on a tight timeline to find a way to deal with the proceeds once they get them, given that Republicans will take control of the House on Tuesday after winning a slim majority in the House of Representatives. midterm elections in November.
The Democrat-controlled House passed a bill before going into winter recess that would require the tax-collecting IRS to complete audits of presidents’ tax returns within 90 days of their inauguration.