The US Supreme Court rejected on Tuesday former president Donald Trump’s emergency appeal which sought to shield his tax returns from House Democrats. This ends the long drawn legal battles and allows for the release of his tax returns.
Donald Trump last week announced his bid for the 2024 US Presidential Elections but this week has presented the former president with a double whammy as the Manhattan Supreme Court ruled that Trump and three of his children will go on trial on October 2023 for indulging in fraud and lying to tax collectors, lenders and insurers for years.
Tuesday’s order was in response to an appeal that the former president filed in October after a lower court declined to reverse its ruling where it told the former president to turn over his tax records to the House Ways and Means Committee.
John Roberts, the Chief Justice of the United States, blocked the release earlier this month while the court considered the matter. The records have been sought by House Democrats who say they want the records because they want to probe how the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) conducts its routine presidential audits.
Trump’s attorneys argue the matter is purely political.
However, it is doubtful if the records will remain useful for the government. It is also unclear when the IRS will turn over the records and the Republicans are set to take over the House in January and are expected to withdraw the request.
Trump did not follow the tradition of publicly sharing his tax records when he ran for president in 2016 and said he did not do it due to an audit. The federal law mandates that tax returns should be confidential unless there are exceptional circumstances.
One of those exceptions is a written request by the House Ways and Means Committee. Trump’s litigation question if this exception is constitutional, the Hill said in a report.
The Hill in its report also said that former US presidents and vice presidents have undergone such auditing since 1977. The federal tax law also requires the Treasury Department officials to hand over individual tax returns upon receiving a written request from the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, the Hill said in its report.
The legal battle arose in 2021 when Donald Trump asked a federal judge in DC to block the IRS for handing over his tax records. Trump said he had privacy concerns and challenged the constitutionality of the House committee’s request.
(with inputs from the Hill)
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