A US House of Representatives committee has voted to release Donald Trump’s partially redacted tax filings.
The former US president broke decades of precedent by refusing to release his tax forms to the public when he stood as a presidential candidate in 2016.
The House Ways and Means Committee voted to release a summary of Mr Trump’s tax returns between 2015 and 2021 – the years when he was running for president and serving in the White House.
Some sensitive personal information will be redacted and the tax returns themselves may not be released for several more days.
The committee’s report raised several red flags about aspects of Mr Trump’s tax filings, including loans to his children that could be taxable gifts and deductions tied to conservation and charitable donations.
In 2016 Mr Trump bragged during a presidential debate that he was “smart” because he paid no federal taxes.
He later claimed he would not personally benefit from the 2017 tax cuts he signed into law which favoured people with extreme worth – asking Americans to simply take him at his word.
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The committee also found required Internal Revenue Service (IRS) audits of Mr Trump were delayed and the report indicates the Trump administration may have disregarded an IRS requirement dating back to 1977 that mandates audits of a president’s tax filings.
The IRS only began to audit Mr Trump’s 2015 tax filings on 3 April 2019 – two years into his presidency.
It only began to audit his 2016 tax filings in September 2019. Audits lagged for his 2017, 2018 and 2019 filings and never even began for his 2020 submission.
A separate report by the Joint Committee on Taxation on Mr Trump’s reported income and taxes owed suggests he paid a relatively modest share of his income to the federal government.
While candidates for US president are not required by law to release their tax returns, previous hopefuls from both parties have voluntarily done so for several decades.
Mr Trump’s tax returns would have been a useful barometer for judging his success in business – a key element of his political persona honed during his time on The Apprentice TV show.
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January 6 committee recommends criminal charges
It comes after the committee investigating the January 6 storming of the US Capitol recommended criminal charges against the former president.
They include conspiracy to defraud the United States; obstructing an official proceeding (the certification of Joe Biden’s election victory); conspiracy to make a false statement and inciting or assisting an insurrection.
However, the recommendation is mostly symbolic and the US Justice Department will be responsible for deciding whether or not to prosecute Mr Trump.