Trump’s tax returns to be released Friday after long fight

Trump’s tax returns to be released Friday after long fight

A House Committee will release six years’ Donald Trump s tax records on Friday. This will allow the former president to finally reveal financial records that he fought for years to keep hidden.

The Democratic-controlled House Ways and Means Committee voted last week to release the returns, with some redactions of sensitive information, such as Social Security numbers and contact information. They were released as Trump’s fellow Republicans prepare for retaking power in the House.

The committee obtained six years of Trump’s personal and business tax records, from 2015 to 2020, while investigating what it said in a Dec. 20 report was the Internal Revenue Service’s failure to pursue mandatory audits of Trump on a timely basis during his presidency, as required under the tax agency’s protocol.

The release raises the potential of new revelations about Trump’s finances, which have been shrouded in mystery and intrigue since his days as an up-and-coming Manhattan real estate developer in the 1980s. The returns could take on added significance now that Trump has launched a third campaign for the White House.

Trump’s tax returns will likely give the most complete picture of his finances during his tenure in office.

Trump is well-known for his skyscrapers and hosting reality TV shows before he won the White House. He broke political norms when he refused to release his tax returns as he sought the presidency. However, he did disclose some details about his income and holdings on mandatory disclosure forms.

Trump has instead boasted his wealth in his annual financial statements that he submits to banks for loans and financial magazines to justify his position on the list of world’s most wealthy.

Trump and his long-standing accounting firm have since disavowed these statements and New York Attorney General Letitia Jam has filed a lawsuit alleging that Trump and his Trump Organization inflated asset values on the statements as part a long-running fraud. Trump and his company denied any wrongdoing. This is not the first time that Trump’s tax returns have been scrutinized. In October 2018, The New York Times published a Pulitzer Prize-winning series based on leaked tax records that showed that Trump received a modern-day equivalent of at least $413 million from his father’s real estate holdings, with much of that money coming from what the Times called “tax dodges” in the 1990s.

A second series in 2020 showed that Trump paid just $750 in federal income taxes in 2017 and 2018, as well as no income taxes at all in 10 of the past 15 years because he generally lost more money than he made. In its report last week the Ways and Means Committee suggested that Trump’s administration may have ignored a post-Watergate requirement that audits be made of tax filings.

The IRS began to audit Trump’s 2016 tax returns on April 3, 2019, more than two years after he assumed office. This was when Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.) asked for information about the tax returns.

By contrast, there were audits by President Joe Biden for both the 2020 (tax years) and 2021 tax year, according to Andrew Bates, a spokesperson for the White House. A spokesperson for former President Barack Obama stated that Obama was audited during each of his eight years in office.

A report by Congress’ nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation raised many red flags about Trump’s tax filings. These included his carryover losses and deductions tied to conservation or charitable donations. Loans to his children could also be taxable gifts.

The House passed a bill to require audits of income tax filings by any president. Republicans opposed the legislation strongly, raising concerns about the potential for audits to be used for political gain.

Republicans have argued that Democrats will regret the move once Republicans take power in January, and they warn that the committee’s new GOP chair will be under pressure to seek and make public the tax returns of other prominent people.

The measure, which was largely approved by party lines, is unlikely to become law in the final days this Congress. It is viewed as a starting point to improve oversight of the presidency.

Every president and major-party candidate since Richard Nixon have made at least summaries their tax information freely available to the public. Trump, both as a candidate for president and as a candidate, resisted this trend by repeatedly claiming that his taxes were “under review” and that they couldn’t be released.

Trump’s lawyers were repeatedly denied access to his tax returns by the Ways and Means Committee. In August, a three-judge federal appeals court panel upheld a lower court ruling that granted the committee access.

Trump’s lawyers tried unsuccessfully to stop the Manhattan district attorney’s office from obtaining Trump’s tax records in its investigation into his business practices. They lost twice in the Supreme Court.

Trump’s longtime accountant, Donald Bender, testified at the Trump Organization’s recent Manhattan criminal trial that Trump reported losses on his tax returns every year for a decade, including nearly $700 million in 2009 and $200 million in 2010.

Bender was a partner at Mazars USA LLP and spent years preparing Trump’s tax returns. He said that Trump’s reported losses ranged from 2009 up to 2018. This included net operating losses from some businesses he owns through his Trump Organization. The Trump Organization was convicted of tax fraud earlier this month for helping executives dodge taxes on company-paid perks like apartments and luxury cars.

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Associated Press writer Paul Wiseman in Washington contributed to this report.

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