January 27, 2023

Brighton Journal

Complete News World

He explained Trump’s tax documents and what Congress could do with them

He explained Trump's tax documents and what Congress could do with them

After three contentious years, the Congressional Ways and Means Committee can finally get its hands on former President Donald Trump’s tax returns. But whether the commission will release that information to the public is not yet clear.

Trump’s tax returns should have been public information since his nomination in 2016. Now that Congress has access to the documents, the appropriate committees can determine whether he committed any financial wrongdoing and whether the IRS handled them properly. But it also opens the door for the public and the media to scrutinize those documents, which can tell us the nature of his finances, whether he exploited tax loopholes or committed financial crimes, and his financial relationships with other influential people and governments during his work. was in office.

Trump has long sought to keep his returns under wraps, however Supreme Court decision The November decision means the committee has access to them, despite his best efforts to keep them secret. Some of Trump’s tax documents are already public information, Via The New York Times 2020 Report. This report showed his manipulation of the tax system and its financial reporting in order to pay minimal taxes — or in many cases, none at all.

Documents the committee now has access to include six years of the former president’s tax returns, from both his business and personal deposits and covers most of his time in the White House, According to CNN.

Trump has fought to keep his returns private since Richard Neal (D-MA), the committee chairman, requested them in April 2019. The Treasury Department initially denied the request, setting up a years-long court battle.

But the committee’s goal isn’t necessarily to publicize Trump’s finances in broad daylight — ostensibly they want the information to assess the IRS’ presidential audit, something all presidents and vice presidents undergo annually while in office.

The Department of the Treasury, which oversees the IRS, he told CNN last week that she was complying with the court order to turn over the documents to the Commission. Although the committee met Thursday to discuss what to do with the documents, Neal told reporters the same day that he would not comment on whether he had seen them or what exactly the committee was planning. Roll Call reported Thursday.

See also  Facts: Who is Russia's new war chief Gerasimov and why was he appointed?

“It’s very sensitive information,” he said at the time. “We intend to handle it professionally.”

What is presidential scrutiny and why is the Ways and Means Committee considering it?

It is not clear exactly why Trump is making such efforts to protect his tax records. But even though his most recent tax records have been released, they may not satisfy people asking that question—because it is not the question the Ways and Means Committee set out to answer, and because the records may not be available to the public.

Given how long it took the committee to access the records, the committee won’t be able to comprehensively assess the records before Republicans take over the leadership of both the House and committee in January.

“The thing that interests me most about the methods and means of obtaining returns is what it has to say about the IRS audit of these returns,” Keith Fogg, professor emeritus at Harvard Law School, told Vox via email. “Are the audits completed now? How much did he owe if anything? Did he pay it? What special steps has the IRS taken to audit a candidate/president’s returns?”

Trump refused to release his tax returns during the 2016 campaign, saying he “under reviewIt will make it public when this process is complete. 2020 New York Times investigation It showed that he was in a decade-long battle over the refund of the $72.9 million he received on his 2010 tax return.

Fogg said, “I suspect the New York Times has given us most of the information about his return and the new data will confirm what has already been published.”

The committee’s request relates to the process of examining Trump’s tax records while he was president, not the information they contain.

“The president’s and vice president’s returns are reviewed every year regardless of whether they raise red flags that could lead to another taxpayer’s review,” Daniel Himmel, a professor at New York University School of Law, told Vox by email. The procedure for auditing such representations is unique to those records, as set forth in Internal Revenue Handbook. They are supposed to undergo a quick and thorough check under careful security measures. “One of the reasons the House Ways and Means Committee is inquiring is to see how — in practice — these audits differ from other proceeds audits,” Himmel said.

See also  Spiders are caught in a global web of misinformation

Another question the documents could answer is, Hemel told Vox, whether the IRS handled any red flags appropriately.

“By reviewing the returns themselves, the congressional committee can see if there are any suspicious items that, in a normal audit, warrant follow-up,” he said. “Then the committee can investigate whether the IRS actually pursued those items and what effect that had.”

Depending on the results of the review, Congress can change the process via legislation.

How can documents become public?

Despite the public’s legitimate interest in Trump’s tax returns, there is still a shroud of secrecy around them. They are sensitive private documents, even if they belonged to a public figure and former politician, and should be treated that way, the Internal Revenue Handbook dictates.

Legally, the IRS is required to file returns with the Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee, or the Joint Committee on Taxation upon written request from the committee chair, but that doesn’t give those bodies carte blanche to make them public.

But what these three committees can do, Himmel noted in a piece for Lawfarehe is Submission of documents In legislation or in a report to the House or the full Senate, or both, at any time put such information into the public record.

There are political reasons for the House Committee to keep the documents secret for now. First of all, it would be a bit of a bait and switch to make it public; Neal has stated several times since he requested the information in 2019 that the committee’s sole intent is to examine presidential vetting procedures — not to release them for political purposes or to embarrass Trump.

Given that the commission probably won’t (or, at least, probably shouldn’t, Hemel argues) release the documents to Congress, and won’t finish a thorough examination of the presidential vetting process before Jan. 3 when Republicans assume leadership of the commission, there are still ways Congress can During which the review of audit procedures is carried out – and also Eventually release Trump’s tax documents.

See also  Report: Italian authorities confiscate Russian yachts

Now that the highest court has determined that Trump cannot prevent congressional committees from obtaining his proceeds and ordered materials, the Senate Finance Committee, which would still be controlled by Democrats, can step in, request documents, and make its own assessment of the presidential audit process. . That could spur Congress to make legislative changes to the process if needed — or “Refer to the Ministry of Justice to prosecute if the facts justify it.” From there, the commission Documents can be released to the full Senateby making such a referral or identifying another legitimate reason for doing so.

Given the range of the Ways and Means Committee’s reasons for requesting Trump’s tax returns, the public likely won’t see these documents anytime soon. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t — or we never will.