West News Wire: Former President Donald Trump’s long-running campaign to defy precedent and keep them private has come to an end with the US House Ways and Means Committee publishing six years’ worth of his personal income tax returns as well as filings from other Trump company companies.
The decision on Friday comes just days before Republicans gain control of the House and puts an end to a year-long legal battle by the Democratic majority on Ways and Means to obtain the records.
A review of the documents by the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT), which was made public by the Ways and Means Democrats last week, revealed a number of areas that the nonpartisan committee said required additional examination by auditors, including confirming losses carried over from earlier tax years, determining whether substantial charitable deductions were supported, and whether loans to Trump’s children were disguised gifts.
The JCT said the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had broken its own rules by not auditing Trump for three out of four years of Trump’s presidential period.
Details previously released by the panel show Trump paid no income tax in 2020, his final full year in office, despite millions of dollars in earnings from his sprawling business empire.
The records also show Trump’s income and tax liability fluctuated dramatically from 2015 through 2020, during his first presidential bid and subsequent term in office. They show Trump and his wife Melania claimed large deductions and losses and paid little or no income tax in several of those years.
The couple reported losses and owing $750 or less in federal income tax in most tax years from 2015 through 2020. Only in 2018 and 2019 did they report any taxable income and pay higher income taxes.
The couple’s total tax liability also included other charges, like a self-employment tax that increased what they owed, with the total ranging from $271,973 in 2020 to almost $2.1 million in 2018, JCT’s analysis found.
Democrats have argued that in order to examine the mandatory presidential audit process of the IRS, which they found mostly didn’t start until Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal, D-Mass wrote to the agency in 2019, and which is still unfinished nearly two years after Trump left office, it was necessary to review and make public Trump’s tax returns.
Before adjourning for the winter break, the Democratic-controlled House enacted a measure requiring the Internal Revenue Service, which collects taxes, to finish audits of presidents’ tax returns 90 days after their inaugurations.
In the midst of a storm of disagreement and controversy, the new Republican majority in the US House of Representatives is scheduled to enter office on Tuesday.