Why Democrats released Trump’s tax returns

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After years of fighting for Donald Trump’s tax returns, the Democrats finally got them and opened them to the public through two congressional reports released this week. stresses that it is not about Trump himself, but rather about the IRS and oversight of the US tax system.

The Democratic-led Ways and Means Commission reported that Mr. Trump was not audited during his first two years in office. His first audit as president was only properly done when the IRS was directly asked by Congress to prepare Trump’s tax returns.

This requires that “the president’s and vice president’s personal income tax returns are subject to mandatory audit inspections,” undergo “regular pipeline processing,” and “regular filing and retention procedures.”

“The IRS has failed to administer its own mandatory audit program policy,” D-Mass Speaker Richard Neal Ways and Means said in the House on Thursday, calling the president’s audit program at the level of IRS policy. From the level of federal law.

Democrats angry that president’s audit program was ‘dormant’

“After years of obstruction and litigation ended in the Supreme Court, the Commission found that, for all practical purposes, the mandatory audit program was dormant. It wasn’t working at all,” said Neil.

Neal’s bill, which passed the House on Thursday, gives the Treasury Department three months to prepare a report on a sitting president’s tax returns, which is required by law to be filed annually.

The bill also makes presidents’ tax returns public, along with the returns of businesses they own.

Rep. Stephen Horsford (D-Nevada) said Tuesday after the vote on President Trump’s return, “This was not about one person, it was about the president’s office.”

Democrats are calling for a two-tier tax system.

Trump’s returns show sophisticated accounting, with income from investments offset by large diversified business losses that ease his tax liability. In 2020, Trump’s last year as president, he paid no income tax at all.

Tax experts say his technique is not unique, but just one of many that are widely used by people with large amounts of money to pay less in taxes. These strategies range from using bank loans backed by stock portfolios to obtain cash, to combining trusts and annuities to keep money away from governments for generations.

This slickness is another source of anger for Democrats, who hope to draw attention to it through Trump’s return announcement.

“Trump’s profits could look like those of many other wealthy tax scams: hundreds of partnership profits, highly questionable deductions, and debt that could be diverted to wipe out tax obligations. said in a statement Wednesday.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has taken similar caution about how taxes work in the United States.

“At the core of the problem is the inconsistency in how types of income are reported to the IRS. Opaque sources of income often avoid scrutiny, while wages and federal benefits are typically subject to near-total compliance. This two-tier tax system is unfair and robs the country of resources to fund core priorities,” she said in a statement on the 2021 Congressional Tax Compliance Proposals. .

But the return release is also about beating Donald Trump

Democrats have hinted at a return announcement in the broader policy debate, but it’s just as important as beating politics and political rivals.

During his presidency, Trump enraged Democrats by breaking presidential norms beyond refusing to release his tax returns. His heavy use of social media and public accusations of judges and other public officials the president does not normally criticize has changed the tone of the domestic political debate and angered the opposition.

“When we win this election, when we have a new President of the United States in January, when we have a new Treasury Secretary, and when Richie Neil calls for his return, the world will know what the President has been hiding. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (California Democrat) said in 2020:

The revelations of Trump’s massive business losses, predicted by years of investigative reports, are projected by TV shows such as “The Apprentice,” undermining Trump’s image of what he ultimately used to win the presidency. is.

Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) said in a statement on Tuesday, “Donald Trump has made big deductions, big credit, big losses, but rarely big tax bills.” , which raised a lot of questions about how someone who claims to be very wealthy can avoid a lot of taxes.”

Republicans take it personally

Republicans have ignored the policy arguments raised by the commission’s report, laying the groundwork for several political reprisals.

Kevin Brady (Texas), the outgoing Republican leader of the Ways and Means, has spoken out about actions related to personal tax returns in connection with the upcoming Congress, where Republicans control the House.

“I’m not going to speculate on what the next Congress and this commission will focus on in relation to tax returns,” he said Tuesday.

“Democrats’ claims about the need to reform the presidential audit program are just a cover for weaponizing tax laws against political rivals,” Way & Means Republicans said in a statement Thursday.

Hunter Biden is under investigation by the Justice Department over whether he paid enough taxes on payments he received while serving on the board of a Ukrainian company, tax experts say, putting Republicans in the crosshairs. It is possible that they match.

“How and Where Republicans come out and say, ‘You guys started. This is two-sided. They will also request tax return information.

Hunter Biden has hired a new defense attorney this week, possibly in anticipation of the commission’s actions in the next Congress, NBC News reported this week.

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