Why Democrats Really Released Trump’s Tax Returns

Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

For years House Democrats fought for access to Donald Trump’s tax returns, only to release six years of these tax returns — through two Congressional reports — when they finally received that access.

Yet, Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee who decided to publish the reports emphasized that former President Donald Trump wasn’t the report’s target.
Instead, they insist the reports are meant to shine a light on the Internal Revenue Service’s oversight and — more broadly — the U.S. tax system.

The reports reveal that for the first two years of his Presidency, Trump wasn’t audited; his first audit only occurred after Congress requested the agency provide Trump’s tax returns.

Not auditing a President for two years violates the agency’s policies subjecting a President to a mandatory annual audit.

The policy also states the President will be subject to “normal pipeline processing” and “regular filing and retention procedures.”

When introducing legislation intended to bolster Presidential tax audits from an IRS policy to federal law, House Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.) noted that “the IRS has failed” to follow through on its mandatory system. Instead, Neal described the policy as “dormant” and “not functioning at all.”

The legislation — which passed in the House on Thursday (December 22) — would allocate three months to the treasury to produce a report on the President’s tax returns.

The report is also intended to spotlight a two-tiered tax system, given Trump — in his last year in the Oval Office — paid zero in taxes because of losses that had been distributed since 2009.