Committee Says Trump’s 2020 Tax Returns Indicate He Paid No Taxes
Tuesday, the Democratic-controlled House Ways and Means Committee voted to release some documents related to former President Donald Trump’s tax returns, a move Trump has long opposed.
The committee met for several hours behind closed doors on Tuesday afternoon before returning to open session to vote 24-16 in favor of releasing Trump’s 2015-2020 tax returns.
Uncertainty surrounds which documents will be released or ultimately included in the committee’s report, but there will be two days to redact sensitive information before anything is made public.
Chairman Richard Neal, D-Massachusetts, stated following the vote, “This is not a punitive action. This has nothing to do with malice.”
Neal later stated that the tax returns will span six years, from 2015 to 2020. The committee is in the process of redacting personal information and will release the documents once this is complete, which could take a few days, according to Neal.
Six years of returns, including those of eight affiliated businesses, as well as committee reports, a report from the Joint Committee on Taxation, and audit reports from the Internal Revenue Service are anticipated to be made public.
According to a summary released by the committee, Trump and his wife Melania reported $31.7 million in losses and $641,931 in net taxes during the first year of Trump’s presidential campaign in 2015.
According to the committee, during the 2016 presidential election year, the two reported losing $32.4 million in adjusted gross income and paid only $750 in taxes. During the first year of Trump’s presidency, the couple reported a loss of $12.9 million and paid $750 in taxes.
In 2018, their adjusted gross income increased to $24.3 million, and they reported paying taxes totaling $999,456. In 2019, the couple reported earnings of $4.4 million and tax payments of $133,448.
In 2020, they reported a loss of $4,8 million, whereas Trump paid no taxes.
Neal told reporters that despite an IRS requirement that tax returns filed by a sitting president or vice president be subject to audit, there was no ongoing audit of Trump’s tax returns during his presidency before the committee requested them.
Neal stated that the audit did not begin until 2019 and that the audits of the requested returns were never completed.
Neal stated, “The tax forms were never audited, and only by sending a letter at one point prompted a rearview mirror response.”
Previously, the committee voted unanimously to release a transcript of the closed proceedings when appropriate.
Multiple boxes of Trump tax return-related documents were wheeled into the room before the committee meeting.
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The committee obtained the information from the Treasury Department last month after the U.S. Supreme Court denied Trump’s request to block a court order requiring him to turn over his tax returns and other financial records to the committee.
It was the fourth time Trump had lost an appeal to a high court regarding requests for his taxes.
Uncertainty surrounds the committee’s potential possession of significant new information. New York prosecutors have previously had access to a portion of the data, but the committee may have more recent information.
Tuesday’s vote came one day after a House committee voted on January 6 to refer Trump to the Justice Department for criminal investigation.
The committee requested six years’ worth of Trump’s tax returns as part of an alleged investigation into the IRS audit practices of presidents and vice presidents.
In his petition to the Supreme Court, Trump alleged that the committee requested his tax information under pretenses.
In November, it was revealed that Trump reported nearly $1 billion in operating losses over two years approximately ten years ago, when an accountant testified at the criminal trial of the Trump Organization, revealing publicly available tax information that the former president has repeatedly attempted to keep private.
The move by the Ways and Means Committee comes just two weeks before the upcoming Republican majority in the House.
The Supreme Court did not explain its ruling, and neither a dissenting opinion nor a breakdown of the vote was recorded.
Chairman Neal stated at the time, “We knew the strength of our case, we stayed the course, followed counsel’s advice, and now our case has been upheld by the highest court in the land.” “The principle of oversight has been upheld since the time of the Magna Carta, and nothing has changed today. The Committee will now conduct the oversight we’ve sought for the past three and a half years, which transcends politics.”
Trump has claimed that the subpoena is a politically motivated fishing expedition, but the committee has stated that the requested documents are essential for drafting “legislation on equitable tax administration, including legislation on the President’s tax compliance.”
The ranking Republican on the committee, Texas Representative Kevin Brady, has accused Democrats of making a grave error in their “hurry to target” Trump.
“Means and Methods Democrats are releasing a dangerous new political weapon that threatens the privacy of every American and extends far beyond President Trump, “Brady said in a statement before the meeting on Tuesday.
“In the future, partisans in Congress have nearly unrestricted authority to target political foes by obtaining and releasing their private tax returns to humiliate and destroy them. This includes private citizens, business and labor leaders, and Supreme Court justices, in addition to public officials “he said.
Shortly before the members gathered, he echoed this sentiment, stating, “The precedent we set today will have severe consequences for taxpayers in a democracy.”