Since the 2016 campaign, President Donald Trump has been withholding his tax returns from the American public.
It has been a tradition since Watergate for candidates seeking public office to release their tax returns to the public for the sake of transparency. However, due to a claim of being audited, the public still has yet to see Trump’s returns. With that said, the Commissioner for the Internal Revenue Service has made a statement saying that this is in fact not an excuse to withhold the returns.
Commissioner Charles Rettig informed the Appropriations Committee in the House of Representatives that being under audit does not prevent a citizen from releasing copies of tax returns to the public, stating yesterday to the committee that there is ”no rule that would prohibit the release of a tax return because it’s under audit.”
This information has come to light as a result of the fact that there was a window in which Trump’s tax returns were to be released to the House Ways and Means Committee that was quickly coming to a close. Upon hearing that the Committee had every legal right to ask for copies of his taxes from the IRS, Trump once again said:
“I would love to give them, but I’m not going to do it while I’m under audit.”
However, that appears to be a piece of misinformation on Trump’s part. He may not be aware, but the IRS most certainly can give his taxes to the House Ways and Means Committee, whether they are under audit or not.
Further, considering the fact that Trump has never produced proof that his taxes are being audited, there is no public knowledge as to whether or not this excuse is even true at all. Regardless, it has no bearing on whether the returns can be turned over to Congress, and, if they so choose, the American people.
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Shannon Barber is a progressive queer feminist and budding political scientist. She is passionate about issues of social justice, including but not limited to racial equality, criminal justice reform, pro-Black politics, and LGBTQ equality. She hopes to change the world, one mind at a time.