| 3 March 2024, Sunday |

U.S. House Democrats to decide whether to release Trump’s tax information

After a protracted legal battle and just two weeks before their party loses control of the House to the Republicans, a Democratic-led committee in the U.S. House of Representatives will decide on Tuesday whether to make the information of former President Donald Trump’s tax returns public.

The day after the House investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021 assault on the Capitol by Trump supporters urged the Justice Department to prosecute the Republican for his role in inciting the riot, the House Ways and Means Committee is scheduled to examine them behind closed doors at 3 p.m. ET (2000 GMT).

Trump, unlike previous presidential candidates, refused to make his tax returns public as he sought to keep secret the details of his wealth and the activities of his real estate company, the Trump Organization, and he fought Democrats’ efforts to get access to them.

Candidates are not required by law to release their tax returns, but previous presidential hopefuls of both parties have voluntarily done so for several decades.

Trump’s tax returns are still subject to confidentiality restrictions, but Democrats who control the committee could vote to make some details public.

Democrats on the Ways and Means Committee have said they need to see those records to assess whether the Internal Revenue Service is properly auditing presidential tax returns, and to gauge whether new legislation is needed. The committee’s chairman, Representative Richard Neal, has not said whether he supports making them public.

They have little time to act, as Republicans are due to take control of the committee, along with the full House, in January.

Another House committee on Monday asked federal prosecutors to charge Trump with obstruction and insurrection for sparking the deadly Capitol attack. Republicans are expected to dissolve or redirect that panel when they take control of the chamber.

Release of any financial details could lead to more unwelcome scrutiny for Trump as he seeks the Republican nomination to run for the White House again in 2024.

Trump, who served as president from 2017 to 2021, reported heavy losses from his business enterprises over several years to offset hundreds of millions of dollars in income, according to news media reporting and trial testimony about his finances. That allowed him to pay very little in taxes.

On December 6 in New York, The Trump Organization was found guilty of running a 15-year criminal tax fraud conspiracy. The corporation might be fined up to $1.6 million, but Trump is not personally accountable. He has claimed that the case was driven by politics, and the business intends to file an appeal.

He is also being sued for fraud in a another case in New York, where it is alleged that he inflated the worth of his assets.

As Republican Party members and international dignitaries spent money in his opulent hotels during his presidency, he was frequently questioned about potential conflicts of interest.

  • Reuters