Biden Asks for More Time on Decision to Release Trump Taxes

The Biden administration said it needed more time to decide whether to turn over former president Donald Trump’s tax returns to Congress.

In a court filing Wednesday, the Treasury Department and the Justice Department said they were still weighing how to respond to a subpoena by House Democrats seeking six years of Trump’s personal and business tax returns. U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden granted the government more time and ordered the parties to submit a status report on March 31.

“Because the transition to new leadership at both agencies is still ongoing, Defendants require additional time to complete this process,” government lawyers said in the filing.

Attorneys for House Democrats said any extension granted by the judge “should be limited, given how long the Committee’s request has been stymied.”

The legal battle dates to 2019, when the House Ways and Means Committee sued to compel then-Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to hand over the tax records. Under Trump, the Justice Department fought subpoenas issued by the committee, which filed a lawsuit.

Other lawsuits over the president’s tax records involving his accountants and bankers reached the Supreme Court, which ruled that Congress could not compel disclosure, at least for the time being. Those cases were sent back to the lower courts to assess whether lawmakers should narrow the scope of the information they sought.

Separately, the district attorney in Manhattan, Cyrus Vance, has obtained Trump’s tax records as part of a criminal investigation into the former president’s business dealings. It’s unclear whether Vance will make those documents public.

In September 2020, the New York Times cited previously undisclosed returns in reporting that Trump had claimed chronic losses for years as a way to avoid taxes. He paid $750 in federal income tax in 2016, and paid no taxes at all in 10 of the previous 15 years, the newspaper reported.

The case is Committee on Ways and Means, U.S. House of Representatives v. U.S. Department of the Treasury, 19-cv-1974, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

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