Trump’s Tax Return Case Just Took a Critical Turn And Dems Are Gearing Up For Disclosure
A whistleblower’s allegation of interference with the president’s IRS audit hints at another way to obtain those tax returns.
House Democrats have revealed that a federal employee has come to them with information about “presidential interference” relating to an Internal Revenue Service audit of Donald Trump. It’s a big development in Democrats’ quest for Trump’s tax returns.
The reason the whistleblower is a big deal is that he or she might be able to give the committee information on Trump’s tax returns. The law empowers IRS whistleblowers to divulge material to Congress, giving Democrats another way to obtain those tax returns.
In most situations, it is highly illegal for IRS employees to expose private tax information, but they can give it to the House Ways and Means or Senate Finance committee if they suspect wrongdoing. Specifically, the law says that an IRS employee who has access to returns can divulge documents to tax committees “if such person believes such return or return information may relate to possible misconduct, maladministration, or taxpayer abuse.”
Democrats want to see the president’s tax returns partly because they don’t trust him not to improperly influence his audit. The IRS has said such concerns are “unfounded,” but if Democrats have evidence of possible interference, those concerns would be pretty well-founded and the IRS has to turn in Trump’s tax records for congressional review.
It’s possible that the whistleblower knows something related to the ongoing audit that Trump repeatedly referred to on the campaign trail, said Steve Rosenthal, a senior fellow at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. When Trump became president, maybe he fussed with that process in some way.
“The best case for trying to figure out whether Trump is interfering with an audit would be to look at the earliest returns that were open for audit after he took office,” Rosenthal said.
A Ways and Means spokesperson said the committee has not obtained the tax returns it requested from the IRS earlier this year. Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) asked for six years of Trump’s personal and business returns, plus anything related to audits for those years.
You can read the court filing below:
The White House did not respond to a request for comment on whether the president had interfered with his IRS audit.