Published: Sun, April 14, 2019
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Mnuchin postpones decision on handing over Trump tax returns

Mnuchin postpones decision on handing over Trump tax returns

US President Donald Trump's tax returns must be given to House Democrats by 23 April, a committee chair has said.

Earlier this month, Neal formally requested the last six years' worth of President Trump's tax returns, citing what's been dubbed a "little-known provision" in tax code to do so.

Neal argued in this second letter that the law granting him the authority to request tax documents is "Unambiguous and raises no complicated legal issues that warrant supervision or review by" the Justice or Treasury Departments.

Mnuchin, who has consulted with the White House and Department of Justice about Trump's tax returns, said earlier this week that Neal's request raised concerns about the scope of the committee's authority, privacy protections for USA taxpayers and the legislative objective of lawmakers in seeking the documents. "Those concerns lack merit", House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal said in a letter to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig after an initial April 10 deadline lapsed.

Trump declined to provide his tax information as a candidate in 2016 and as president, something party nominees have traditionally done in the name of the transparency.

Mnuchin revealed in congressional testimony that White House lawyers consulted with Treasury on Trump's tax returns.

On Monday, lawmakers in NY proposed a bill that would allow the commissioner of the state's Department of Taxation and Finance to turn over state tax returns if requested by certain congressional committees.

Asked repeatedly at a House hearing Tuesday whether any regulation prohibited a taxpayer from disclosing returns when under audit, Rettig responded "no".

Neal gave the government until 5:00 pm (2100 GMT) on April 23 to hand over the tax records. He said that he was under audit and didn't intend to turn anything over until that process had been completed.

Constitutionally, Neal has the power to demand the IRS release tax returns for any United States individual.

Despite the law's clarity, Democrats have long acknowledged that the request, if denied, would mean a federal court battle that could ultimately be settled by the U.S. Supreme Court. "Please know that if you fail to comply, your failure will be interpreted as a denial of my request", Neal writes. Neal also could seek the returns through a subpoena.

Republicans have called the request as an overreach of confidential taxpayer data.

Neal has adopted a methodical approach to seeking Trump's returns.

The Illinois Senate passed a bill to require President Donald Trump to release five years of his tax returns to appear on the state's 2020 ballot.

In recent weeks, Trump has said that the American people elected him without seeing his taxes and would do it again.

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