Tax returns demanded
To the Journal editor:
On April 3, 2019, the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means asked the IRS to submit a copy of the President’s personal and business tax returns for 6 years.
The question is whether this Congressional committee has the legal authority to make such a request. I have carefully read the the Internal Revenue Code at Section 6103(f)(1) and confirm that there is no doubt that this Congressional Committee does have the power to make this request.
This section states that the IRS administrator shall disclose to the Committee any tax return requested by this and two other Committees.
The president objects, contending that since his tax returns are under audit, they should not be subject to disclosure to this Committee. However, an audit is not listed as an exception to disclosure under Section 6103(f)(1).
The president’s allies claim that this request is politically motivated, but a motivation test is not contained in Section 6103(f)(1).
The key Michigan congressman who sits on the House Ways and Means Committee is Dan Kildee of Flint, and he completely supports his committee’s request. Keep in mind that according to the latest Quinnipiac Poll, two-thirds of Americans, mostly including Democrats and independents but also including a portion of Republicans, favor disclosure of the President’s tax returns. But this should not be a partisan matter, rather it is a matter of good governance and public transparency.
Also, recall that in recent history, all candidates running for presidents, except for President Trump, have released their tax returns. There is no justification for excepting the current occupant of the White House.
ROBERT C. ANDERSON
Attorney at Law and Master of Law in Taxation, Georgetown
University Law School