Published: Fri, April 05, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

House Chairman Asks IRS For Six Years Of Trump Taxes

House Chairman Asks IRS For Six Years Of Trump Taxes

Democrats upped the pressure on US President Donald Trump on Wednesday, after officially requesting his tax returns from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the country's tax authority.

Neal requested Mr. Trump's individual tax returns for the years 2013 to 2018, as well as a statement stating whether the return is or was subject to an audit and, if so, the reasons why.

Mr Neal's announcement follows a months-long debate within the Ways and Means Committee about how and when to issue the request for Mr Trump's tax returns.

Mr Neal gave the agency until April 10 to comply. The IRS has said there is no reason tax returns that are under audit can not be publicly released.

"We're under audit despite what people said, and we're working that out as I'm always under audit it seems".

"And I've been under audit for many years because the numbers are big and I guess when you have a name, you're audited", he said.

Though Congressional Democrats have been clamoring for Trump's business and personal tax returns since reclaiming a majority in the House in January, Neal downplayed the political implications of his request in a Wednesday statement.

The committee chairman's letter to the Internal Revenue Service - and Trump's immediate and public response - set up what is likely to become an intense and drawn-out court fight as Democrats push to see tax records they think can shed light on numerous aspects of Trump's business dealings and Trump resists their demands.

Congressional Republicans oppose Neal's effort, saying such a move sets a unsafe precedent by turning the confidential tax documents of a US citizen into a political weapon. The Democrats would also apparently like to claim that if anyone from a foreign country spends the night at a Trump hotel they've committed some sort of "collusion".

"The law says that upon written request from the chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means or the chairman of (Senate) Finance or the chairman of the Joint Committee on Taxation. the Secretary shall furnish, shall - not may, should, could - shall furnish such committee with any return or return information specified in such request".

While Democratic chairmen across the Capitol want to see Mr Trump's tax returns for their own investigations, Mr Neal's formal request is specific and targeted: an investigation into a program that audits the taxes of sitting presidents.

Trump broke with decades of tradition when he did not release his income tax returns as a candidate during his 2016 presidential campaign.

But in February 2016, Trump appeared to become skittish about releasing his tax returns, arguing he could not disclose his returns, because he was now being audited by the IRS - even though an audit does not prevent a taxpayer from releasing his or her own tax documents.

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