Six years of Donald Trump’s tax returns were released in one of the final acts of House Democrats before they lose control of the chamber.
The House Ways and Means Committee announced that the returns were made public on Friday, posting them on their website, downloadable as Attachment E here.
The public release of the returns follows years of legal battles that went to the Supreme Court, which ultimately decided that he had to turn over the returns to the committee. The returns, covering the years 2015 to 2020, showed that he paid no taxes in 2020, with losses and little income.
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Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA) noted that the release of the returns sheds light on the conduct of the IRS, which was supposed to conduct mandatory audits of the president’s returns. He said that the committee found that the program was “dormant” during Trump’s presidency.
“We know now, the first mandatory audit was opened two years into his presidency. On the same day this Committee requested his returns,” Neal said earlier this month.
“We anticipated the IRS would expand the mandatory audit program to account for the complex nature of the former president’s financial situation yet found no evidence of that. This is a major failure of the IRS under the prior administration, and certainly not what we had hope to find.”
But Trump’s taxes have been a matter of intrigue that extended well beyond IRS auditing guidelines. He broke with campaign tradition in 2016 in refusing to release his taxes, with speculation only increased on just what revelations they contained. The New York Times published series that relied on leaked tax records, showing that Trump paid scant federal income taxes over the past 15 years amid heavy losses.
Last week, the House committee released some of its findings from Trump’s returns, showing that when Trump’s returns were eventually audited agents found a series of issues that “warranted examination by the IRS.” Among them: “whether loans made to the former President’s children are loans or disguised gifts that could trigger gift tax.” Also flagged, according to the committee, was whether $126.5 million in deductions by DJT Holdings over the span of five years was “appropriate” when “it was not clear what DJT Holdings is selling from the face of the return.” Also examined was whether a $105 million loss carryover in 2015 and future years was “proper.”
More to come.
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