The House Ways and Means Committee on Friday released six years of former President Trump’s tax returns, following a years-long effort to learn the financial details of the real estate mogul and reality TV star-turned politician.
After redacting sensitive information, such as social security and bank account numbers, nearly 6,000 pages of documents spanning the years 2015 to 2020 were released, which included Trump’s four-year term as President. More than 2,700 pages involved individual returns from Trump and his wife, Melania, while more than 3,000 additional pages detailed returns for Trump’s business entities.
Ways and Means, which is responsible for overseeing the IRS and writing tax policy, requested the returns under its authority within the U.S. tax code. Its report focused primarily on whether Trump’s tax returns during his time in office were properly audited under the IRS’ mandatory audit program for U.S. Presidents.
The committee found that the IRS opened only one “mandatory” audit during Trump’s term, for his 2016 tax return. And that audit did not take place until the fall of 2019, after Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA), first sent a letter asking the IRS for Trump’s returns and tax information. The report characterizes the Presidential audit program as “dormant.”
“Our findings turned out to be simple—I.R.S. did not begin their mandatory audit of the former president until I made my initial request,” Neal said in a statement on Friday.
Last week, the House passed a bill that would reform the Presidential audit process in a largely symbolic vote before Republicans take the majority when the new Congress convenes on January 3. The legislation is not expected to be taken up by the Senate before then.
Trump had stalled for years against the tax returns’ release. However, the Supreme Court cleared the way last month for the Treasury Department to send the returns to Congress.
After voting 24 to 16 to approve their release ten days ago, the Ways and Means Committee last week released a report detailing the six years’ worth of Trump’s tax returns. The report revealed claims of massive annual losses that greatly reduced his tax burden. In 2020, his last year as President, he paid no income tax at all.
Analysts studying the complexity of the former President’s finances are expected peruse the tax returns to determine whether he may have profited from tax policies he signed into law as President. Those include the 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act, which provided a series of tax breaks and cuts for businesses and wealthy people.
Trump, who announced in November that he’s running for reelection in 2024, had broken decades of protocol when he ran for President in 2016 by refusing to release his tax records. Except for Gerald Ford, who released a tax summary, every other President since Nixon has released his full tax returns to the public.
A Trump spokesman has previously said the release of his taxes was politically motivated.