US Democrats questions on IRS audits of Donaldf Trump taxes

Vastavam web: Democrats in Congress raised questions on Thursday about the Internal Revenue Service’s ability to effectively audit President Donald Trump’s tax returns, as they began hearings intended to result in obtaining the documents and making them public. A tax oversight panel in the House of Representatives heard testimony from expert witnesses as it considered a Democratic measure that would require presidential candidates to release their tax returns, codifying a voluntary practice that existed for decades until Trump ran for president in 2016.

The legislation is unlikely to become law. But a separate Democratic plan to request Trump’s tax returns from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin under federal law in coming months is fast becoming a political lightning rod for Democrats and Republicans. Republicans rejected the need to obtain Trump’s tax returns, saying a required annual IRS audit of presidential tax records should provide adequate safeguards without threatening the privacy normally afforded to individual tax data.

“But I’m concerned that the IRS may not have the ability to accurately and fairly carry this out, free from political pressure,” Democratic Representative Suzan DelBene said. Representative John Lewis, Democratic chairman of the House Ways and Means oversight subcommittee, drew a parallel with the Watergate era, citing an IRS audit of former President Richard Nixon that congressional investigators later discovered had missed nearly $480,000 in owed taxes and interest.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal is under growing pressure from Democratic liberal progressives to move quickly on Trump’s taxes. Some committee Democrats said a request could be two to three months away. Republicans say Democrats would overstep their authority and set a dangerous precedent.