In a meeting held behind closed doors on Tuesday, Democrats on the House’s central tax-writing committee decided to release six years’ worth of former President Trump’s tax returns.
Following the vote, Richard Neal (D-Mass.), chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, said that the returns, which cover 2015 to 2020, may be made public in the coming days.
The returns will be included in two reports that the Ways and Means Committee will submit to the entire Congress regarding the IRS’s presidential audit program. Since personal tax returns are protected documents and the IRS has not finished its audits, Democrats are keeping quiet about the details of the returns before they are made public.
Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas, the chairman of the Republican committee, stated that a final determination of how much taxes Trump may owe for those years was still pending. Some Democrats have discussed what they gleaned from Trump’s tax returns. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) said in a statement on Tuesday that Trump “claimed tens of millions of dollars in losses and credits without the type of substantiation an ordinary taxpayer would likely provide.”
Donald Trump rarely had a large tax bill despite having significant losses, credits, and deductions. He continued, saying that “unquestioned aspects of Trump’s returns show the need for both new Presidential audit legislation and a fairer tax system” because “many questions about foreign entanglements and conflicts remain unanswered and unknown.”
Democrats and Republicans both voted in favor of making the returns public, with a final vote of 24-16. Republicans denounced the move to release the returns, saying it would mark the beginning of a new era in which such information would be made public as a “political weapon.”
After the Ways and Means Committee decided to make the tax returns public on Tuesday, progressive organizations applauded them. The American people have a right to know if the president is not paying his fair share of taxes or is otherwise abusing the tax system, according to Frank Clemente, executive director of the nonprofit Americans for Tax Fairness.
President Trump refused to release his tax returns while running for president and continued to do so after taking office. The New York Times reported in 2016 that Trump declared a $916 million loss on his 1995 tax return, theoretically enabling him to avoid paying income tax for nearly 20years.