Five questions about the release of Trump’s tax returns

After years of refusing to release his tax returns and fighting House Democrats’ attempts to obtain them, former President Trump will soon be forced to face tough questions about his finances .

Have you paid taxes? Is he as rich as he said? Do you have any financial conflicts of interest with US or foreign entities?

The Democratic-controlled House Ways and Means Committee said Tuesday it would release Trump’s tax returns, covering the years 2015 to 2020, for the first time.

The panel released a summary of the information and said the actual statements, redacted to conceal personal information such as bank account and Social Security numbers, would be released within a week.

Here are five questions about the unprecedented move.

Could Trump win a last-minute court order to prevent the release of his tax returns?

It is possible, but very unlikely.

Trump has lost every step of the way when he went to court to protect the privacy of his returns.

Last month, it was a unanimous rejection of a Supreme Court line.

His lawyers had filed an emergency appeal warning that House Democrats would release the former president’s tax returns as soon as they obtained them.

The justices, three of whom are Trump appointees, considered his appeal for several weeks but dismissed it without comment.

A federal judge appointed by Trump had ruled that the law gave the Ways and Means Committee the right to obtain tax returns upon request. A US appeals court agreed in a 3-0 decision.

After that losing record, it’s hard to see how a judge would step in now.

It should be noted, however, that in recent years, federal judges have shown an increasing willingness to engage in partisan fights.

And with Republicans taking over the House in January, even a brief injunction from a conservative judge could be enough to delay the release until Democrats cede control of the House committee to the GOP.

– David G. Savage

What do the House summaries of Trump’s returns show so far?

That he might not be a great businessman after all.

As a 2016 presidential candidate, Trump said his business success gave him the skills to govern the nation.

But the 2015-2020 fiscal data reported by the House committee tells a very different story.

Year after year, including during his tenure in the White House, Trump’s core business — rents, royalty payments and other income from hotels, golf courses and other properties — consistently reported millions of dollars in losses.

During those six years, the losses amounted to more than 75 million dollars.

Where Trump had much more luck was in collecting interest income, which totaled $56.5 million from 2015 to 2020.

Earlier reporting by the New York Times showed that until 2017, most of that income came from Trump’s share of profits from a partnership that controls two office towers, in Manhattan and San Francisco, and in which Trump has no management authority.

– Don Lee

What is the IRS program that the president was supposed to audit?

The IRS’s mandatory audit program for presidents has its roots in the Nixon era, when questions were raised about the IRS’s ability to review the president’s returns, according to the report.

In 1977, three years after Nixon resigned under threat of impeachment, the agency adopted a policy of requiring an annual audit of both the president and vice president while they were in office. The permanent policy would help depoliticize the exam, the report said.

But committee members said the practice was not followed under Trump. They said no audit appears to have been done during the first two years of his presidency. Only one of Trump’s returns began receiving an audit while he was in office, according to the report.

The IRS on its website offers some ideas about how the program works. The locations of the President’s and Vice President’s statements are supposed to be monitored at all times during the examination, and the documents must be kept in an orange folder, in a locked drawer or cabinet when not in use. ‘is looking and is not visualized. by other employees.

Still, there are many unanswered questions, including which returns are probed, how many officers are involved in the examination, how long the audits will take, and what happens when a president disagrees with the audit’s finding .

– Erin. B. Logan

What are the odds that Congress will pass a bill requiring future presidents to release their tax returns?

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-Mass.) has introduced legislation that would require the Internal Revenue Service to conduct a mandatory audit “as soon as practicable” after filing a return presidential income tax.

The bill would also require the Secretary of the Treasury to make the president’s statements public; initial, periodic and final reports; and any audit material.

The legislation comes after the panel’s Democrats released a report Tuesday that found “the mandatory audit program was dormant, at best, during the previous administration.”

With Congress adjourning this week until the new year after passing a $1.7 trillion omnibus package, the legislation is unlikely to go anywhere this year.

But Neal projected confidence that the measure has enough bipartisan support to pass a Republican-led House and Democratic-led Senate in the next Congress.

“I think it’s fair to say there’s going to be broad support for this, I think, in the House and the Senate,” Neal told reporters. “I think this is going to go because if there was anything to take away from the conversations we’ve had over the last few days with the Republicans, they would like to see something like this happen.”

A spokesman for Republicans on the Ways and Means Committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

– Nolan D. McCaskill

What did Trump say?

It has been unusually quiet so far.

Trump did not immediately react to the committee’s report on his taxes, although he has spoken out about previous efforts to release them.

After the Supreme Court ruled against him last month, he called the court a “political body” that had “lost honour, prestige and position”.

– Arit John

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