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Neal Signals Lawsuit Over Trump Tax Return Request Coming Soon

May 23, 2019, 4:20 PM

The House’s top tax writer indicated that he will soon turn to the courts as the next step in his attempt to gain access to President Donald Trump’s tax returns.

House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) told reporters May 23 that it’s likely there will be action on the returns request “in the next few days.”

“I’ve always thought that’s where this was going to end up, so you can surmise where we’re headed,” Neal said when asked if that next step would be a lawsuit.

Neal has asked the Internal Revenue Service several times to provide six years of Trump’s personal and some business tax returns, including subpoenaing Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig. But those requests have been rejected.

Neal justified his request by saying the returns are necessary for lawmakers to assess how the IRS conducts annual audits of the president and vice president. Mnuchin, backed by a yet-to-be-released Justice Department legal opinion, has said he can’t legally turn over the tax records because Neal doesn’t have a legitimate legislative purpose to request them.

An internal IRS memo, first reported by the Washington Post May 21, said the president would have to assert executive privilege to stop the release of requested tax returns.

To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Lee in Washington at rlee@bloombergtax.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Patrick Ambrosio at pambrosio@bloombergtax.com; Megan Pannone at mpannone@bloombergtax.com