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Saturday, Oct 19, 2019

Democrats step up pressure for President Trump’s tax returns

Trump denies that he is required to hand over his tax returns by law but the Democratic-led House of Representatives is determined to bring the President, his family and his businesses under more scrutiny.

world Updated: Apr 14, 2019 22:18 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, Washington
US  President Donald Trump has claimed he would have released his tax returns if he was not under audit.
US  President Donald Trump has claimed he would have released his tax returns if he was not under audit.(REUTERS FILE PHOTO)
         

A US Congressional panel has set a new deadline for the federal income tax department for turning over President Donald Trump’s income tax returns for the last six years after it missed the last one and the tussle could possibly reach the Supreme Court.

“The IRS (Internal Revenue Service) has failed to provide the requested return and return information despite an unambiguous legal obligation to do so,” Richard E Neal, head of the Democratic-led House committee on ways and means, wrote in a letter to the IRS commissioner Saturday.

“I expect a reply from the IRS by 5:00 p.m. on April 23, 2019. Please know that, if you fail to comply, your failure will be interpreted as a denial of my request.”

The revenue department, which reports to the US treasury, is in no mood to comply, taking the lead from the White House which has unequivocally said it will never allow for the President’s tax returns to be turned over to congress “No, never,” acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney has said.

Trump also addressed the issue in an exchange with reporters. He denied he is required to hand over his tax returns by law. And claimed he would have released them if he was not under audit and that he is currently under audit. This has been his excuse since the time he jumped in the presidential race in 2016, for breaking with a decades-long tradition of US presidents and nominees releasing their tax returns.

The Democratic-led House of Representatives is determined, however, to bring the President, his family and his businesses under more scrutiny. The judiciary panel, for instance, has launched a sweeping probe of the president for alleged abuse of power, corruption and obstruction of justice.

They have now sought his tax returns. With the administration determined to deny the request, experts say only courts can now resolve the issue. And it will not be easy for them either, as provisions cited by the House panel for seeking the returns have rarely been contested before.

First Published: Apr 14, 2019 22:18 IST

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