- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 21, 2022

The IRS failed to properly audit former President Donald Trump when he was president, according to a report from a House committee that reviewed Mr. Trump’s tax returns.

During Mr. Trump’s presidency, the IRS only audited one of his annual federal income tax returns. That 2016 audit also remained incomplete by the time Mr. Trump left office in January 2021, according to the report from Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee.

The IRS is required to conduct annual tax examinations of sitting presidents.

“The designated agents found that there was only one mandatory audit started and none completed during his four years in office,” the report said. “Clearly, the mandatory audit program was dormant, at best, during the prior administration.”

Mr. Trump filed his 2015, 2016 and 2017 tax returns, but the IRS didn’t launch an audit on any of the returns until April 3, 2019. It was the same day Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal, Massachusetts Democrat, asked the IRS to provide the committee with six years of Mr. Trump’s tax returns and all audits of the returns.

Among all the filings, only Mr. Trump’s 2016 tax return was flagged as a mandatory presidential audit. 

SEE ALSO: House panel says IRS failed to audit Trump in first two years of presidency

Three personal tax returns filed by Mr. Trump while in office were not flagged to be looked at until he left the White House.

The findings by the Democrat-led committee raise questions about Mr. Trump’s claims that he could not release his tax returns because of ongoing audits.

“I can say very clearly President Trump is a liar and President Trump broke all norms and now we have to do a once-in-a-generation fix to address this problem we thought was fixed in the 1970s,” Rep. Tom Suozzi, New York Democrat, said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Mr. Suozzi added it was unclear why the IRS appeared to fall short of auditing Mr. Trump.

“Is it because it was the president’s appointee or was it because the system was broken down? We don’t know why the IRS didn’t do its job,” he said.

The committee recommended making audits on a president mandatory while they are in office and providing more resources for the IRS to conduct its work. The recommendations are in line with the Biden administration’s push to add 87,000 new IRS workers over the next decade.

The committee also voted on party lines to publicly release Mr. Trump’s tax returns, which the committee Democrats obtained after a lengthy court battle.

According to a source close to the committee, the documents include identifying information about Mr. Trump’s 16-year-old son, Barron Trump, such as his social security number.

Mr. Neal said the committee will redact private information before releasing the tax returns. He said on Tuesday night that it would take a few days to complete the redaction process.

Republicans on the committee have called the investigation and the report politically motivated and an unprecedented move by Congress members to target political enemies.

“The American people know which lawmakers in Congress support the power to target political enemies and which side will stand with long-standing taxpayer protections,” said Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas, the ranking Republican on the committee. “This is historically a thoughtful committee that should understand the precedent that many said today will have severe consequences for taxpayers in democracy for years to come.”

The IRS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mr. Trump has not directly commented on the committee‘s decision to release his tax returns. He posted a tweet Tuesday calling the country’s leaders and federal agencies “sick.”

“Our country is SICK inside, very much like a person dying of cancer. The crooked FBI, the so-called Department of ‘Justice,’ and ‘Intelligence’ all parts of the Democrat Party and system, is the cancer,” Mr. Trump wrote on TruthSocial. “These weaponized thugs and tyrants must be dealt with, or our once great and beautiful country will die!!!”

• Mica Soellner can be reached at msoellner@washingtontimes.com.

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