The Treasury Department has been advised by the Justice Department it needs to turn over former President Donald Trump’s tax returns to Congress.
The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel in an opinion Friday said the IRS must release Trump’s tax returns to Congress, affirming the House Ways and Means Committee had a legitimate legislative purpose for seeking them.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-Mass.) requested six years of Trump’s tax returns, which the former president had long refused to release, back in 2019. Then-Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, though, argued the request “lacks legitimate legislative purpose.”
Neal sent the Internal Revenue Service a letter on Wednesday, formally requesting six years of President Trump’s tax returns.
Neal has been asking for Trump’s personal tax returns from 2013 to 2018, and the tax returns for eight of Trump’s businesses, including the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust and DJT Holdings LLC, by April 10, CNN reports.
Under IRS code 6103, the Joint Committee on Taxation and chairs of the House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee each have the authority to request the tax returns of individuals.
Trump has so far refused to release his tax returns, and in his letter, Neal said the committee needs to see them in order to consider legislation connected to the IRS practice of auditing sitting presidents.
Neal said that this is about “policy, not politics. My preparations were made on my own track and timeline, entirely independent of other activities in Congress and the administration.”
The Justice Department on Friday said the Treasury Department must hand over former President Trump’s tax returns to the House Ways and Means Committee, putting an apparent end to the yearslong battle over the records.
In the 39-page opinion, the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) found that the committee “has invoked sufficient reasons for requesting the former President’s tax information,” and said that “the statute at issue here is unambiguous.”
The decision is a reversal of a 2019 opinion from the same office, which was then under the direction of the Trump administration.
“As I have maintained for years, the Committee’s case is very strong and the law is on our side. I am glad that the Department of Justice agrees and that we can move forward,” said Neal, following the Department of Justice’s decision.