WASHINGTON, Dec. 20 (Reuters) – A US House of Representatives committee voted Tuesday to release partially redacted tax returns from former President Donald Trump, saying tax authorities had failed to properly review his returns while in office.
The House Ways and Means Committee voted to release a summary of Trump’s tax returns from 2015 to 2021, the years he ran for president and served in the White House, panelists said.
That could lead to more unwelcome criticism of the former president as he submits a new bid for the White House.
But the commission also said the U.S. Internal Revenue Service was not following its own rules when it failed to audit Trump’s tax returns for three of his four years in office. Members said Congress should pass a law to strengthen the presidential audit program.
“What people will probably be surprised about is the extent to which the IRS didn’t follow their own rules,” Democratic Rep. Dan Kildee told reporters.
The IRS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Commission Chairman Richard Neal, a Democrat, said a redacted summary of Trump’s tax returns would be released within days. Democrats have little time to act as Republicans take control of the House in January.
It wasn’t clear if the material would shed light on potential conflicts between Trump’s real estate holdings and his actions as president, or how much tax he paid on the hundreds of millions of dollars his companies made while he was president. Lawmakers said the returns contained few details.
“I think you’ll be surprised how little there is,” Democratic Representative Lloyd Doggett told CNN.
Kevin Brady, the top Republican on the panel, told reporters that some of those returns are still being audited, so it wasn’t clear how much tax Trump owed. Like other Republicans on the committee, he voted against their release because it could set a bad precedent.
Two reports will be released later Tuesday night, committee members said — one from the committee itself and one from the Joint Taxation Committee, an impartial body that analyzes the effects of tax provisions in legislation. They will include a memo from Neal about the purpose of Trump’s original tax filing request, the audit notes and proposals for legislation to codify the presidential audit program into law, committee members said Tuesday night.
Trump, unlike previous presidential candidates, refused to release his tax returns because he wanted to keep secret the details of his assets and the activities of his real estate company, the Trump Organization, and fought against Democrats’ attempts to gain access to them. to get.
Trump has said he cannot release his tax returns because they were under investigation by the IRS. Tax experts have said this is not a valid excuse.
Neal declined to comment on whether Trump was truthful or not.
Candidates are not required by law to release their tax returns, but previous presidential candidates from both parties have voluntarily done so for decades.
Democrats on the committee said they need to see that data to assess whether the Internal Revenue Service is auditing presidential tax returns properly and to gauge whether new legislation is needed.
Another House committee on Monday asked federal prosecutors to prosecute Trump for instigating the deadly attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021. Republicans are expected to disband or redirect that panel when they take control of the chamber taking over.
Trump, who served as president from 2017 to 2021, reported heavy losses from his business ventures over several years to offset hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue, according to news media coverage and testimony about his finances. As a result, he had to pay very little tax.
The Trump Organization was found guilty in New York on December 6 of carrying out a 15-year criminal scheme to defraud tax authorities. The company risks up to $1.6 million in fines, though Trump himself is not personally liable. He said the case was politically motivated and the company plans to appeal.
He is also facing a separate fraud case in New York accusing him of artificially inflating the value of his assets.
During his presidency, he faced persistent conflict of interest questions as foreign dignitaries and Republican Party officials spent money at his luxury hotels.
Reporting by Moira Warburton and Andy Sullivan; Edited by Cynthia Osterman and Christopher Cushing
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