The House Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday voted to release six years of former President Donald Trump’s tax returns — potentially revealing what he says are his business dealings and personal wealth. Ending years of speculation about the reveal.
The panel voted along party lines to make the returns available as soon as Wednesday — the day the committee is scheduled to release its final report on corruption in the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. – That will be the last days. Democratic control of Congress before Republicans took control of the House in January.
The committee later released a 29-page report on Tuesday summarizing its investigation into the IRS audit of Trump’s taxes and making recommendations for the IRS. They also released a separate 39-page report from the Joint Committee on Taxation that includes the contents of Trump’s documents under review.
Rep. Brendan Boyle, D-Pa. Said more detailed returns will likely be released later this week.
“The actual returns themselves are going to be sent to the full House and made public, but I’m told it will take a few days to a week to review some of the information that needs to be redacted,” Boyle said. Boyle said.
Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., said the mandatory audit program is “almost non-existent” and that Trump’s returns were not audited by the IRS, even though all presidents must be subject to automatic audits.
“For all practical purposes the research that was done as related to the mandatory audit program is non-existent. The tax forms were never actually audited, and only my one-time mailing prompted a retrospective response. ,” Neal said during a news conference after the vote.
The Ways and Means Committee spent hours in a closed-door meeting before taking a vote.
Rep. Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, the ranking member, criticized the Democrats’ move, saying committee members didn’t know “exactly what we were releasing” when they voted.
The move could spark threats of retaliation from Republicans, who have already vowed to launch an investigation into President Joe Biden and his family. Some Republicans have already accused Neal of only seeking the recall for political reasons.
Neal defended the vote immediately afterward.
“It wasn’t about punishment, it wasn’t about abuse, and there was no letter from the committee,” he said. “We strictly adhere to the law.”
Brady told reporters before the meeting that Democrats were taking an “unprecedented step” that would jeopardize every American’s right to be protected from political targeting by Congress.
“No party in Congress should have this power. It’s the power to embarrass, harass or destroy a private citizen by revealing their tax returns,” Brady said.
Trump was the first president since the 1970s to refuse to release his tax returns.
Neal insisted he needed to review returns for “politics, not politics.”
“The IRS has a policy of auditing the tax returns of all sitting presidents and vice presidents, but little is known about the program’s effectiveness. On behalf of the American people, the Ways and Means Committee must determine whether this policy is working.” are followed, and, if so, whether these audits are being conducted thoroughly and appropriately. In order for this decision to be made fairly, we must recover President Trump’s tax returns and review whether the IRS responsibilities,” Neal said in a statement in April. 2019
But Trump’s battle to keep the refund out of the committee’s hands has been so long that the panel now has little time to act. The recall was put on hold at the end of November after the Supreme Court rejected Trump’s request to take action.
After this decision, Trump criticized the Supreme Court on social media. He wrote on his platform Truth Social: “The Supreme Court has lost its honor, dignity and standing, and is nothing more than a political institution, for which our country is paying the price.”
While tax returns are confidential under federal law, there are some exceptions — including when the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee requests them.
Neal did so in 2019 after Democrats took control of the House, but refused to comply with Trump’s Treasury Department, leading the committee to sue to get it back.
Trump’s finances have been an endless source of speculation ever since he refused to release them during the 2016 election, saying they were under investigation and that he would release them once the investigation was complete.
When Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton accused him in a debate of hiding his income because it would show he paid no federal taxes, Trump responded, “That makes me smart.”
After he became president, he said that he might release him after he was dismissed. “Yeah, at some point I’ll release them. Maybe I’ll release them after they’re done, because I’m really proud of them. I did a good job,” he said.
Despite Trump’s best efforts to keep his taxes secret, The New York Times reported on some of his returns throughout his presidency and reported in 2020 that it obtained two decades of his tax information. do
The records show he has paid no income tax in 10 of the past 15 years, mostly because he reported significant losses. In both the years he won the presidency and his first year in office, he paid just $750 in federal income taxes, the newspaper found.
NBC News has not seen or verified any of the documents reported by The Times.
Asked about the report at the time, Trump said the story was “made up” and that he paid “a lot of money in the state” in taxes, but he wouldn’t say how much. He later tweeted that he “paid millions of dollars in taxes but is entitled to depreciation and tax credits like everyone else.”
Ways and Means is not the first committee to block the president’s tax returns.
The chairman of the Joint Committee on Finance in 1973 and 1974 sought the return of several years of then-President Richard Nixon’s tax returns, as well as the returns of First Lady Pat Nixon and their daughter and son-in-law.
The committee’s final report on Nixon’s taxes included a copy of the returns that Nixon had previously made public, but not the previous returns. The report referred to some information that it had collected from previous returns.