US lawmakers vote to make Trump’s tax returns public

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The Internal Revenue Service failed to audit former President Donald Trump’s tax filings during his first two years in office despite a program that makes the auditing of sitting presidents mandatory, a House committee revealed on Tuesday after an extraordinary vote to make public six years of his tax returns.

Donald Trump’s tax missteps during his presidency are being laid bare for the world to see.

After a years-long court battle, earlier this month the House Committee on Ways and Means finally got access to six years of the former president’s tax returns, from 2015 to 2021. But with the clock running out on the Democrats’ control of the House and the committee, time was of the essence. At the end of a four-hour long closed door meeting yesterday (Dec. 20), the panel voted 24-16 to release the tax filings as well as its review of the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) Mandatory Audit Program under the prior administration.

The filings will be made publicly available in the next couple of days once private information is redacted, but the committee’s review anticipated some of the most striking findings, painting a damning picture of the IRS. “The Committee’s investigation found the mandatory program was dormant, at best, with only one audit opened while the former President was in office, and none have been completed,” lawmakers said in a press release. The findings helped validate concerns that the White House may have pressured IRS agents to go easy on Trump’s returns.

The IRS Mandatory Audit Program is an internal policy adopted in 1997 that’s meant to ensure the annual audit of the president and vice-president. The practice was put in place during the Watergate era, when then-president Richard Nixon and his aides were embroiled in a tax scandal.

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