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Democrats Extend Deadline and Give IRS Until April 23 to Hand Over Trump's Tax Returns
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15 Apr 2019 05:05 PM EST

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Donald Trump (Image source: Public domain)

 

 

People across the country are sweating it out, trying to make sure they get their taxes filed on time, but the Internal Revenue Service doesn't seem to have the same concern for others' deadlines.  

They missed last week's deadline given to them by the House Ways and Means Committee to turn over six years worth of Donald Trump's tax returns. A new date of April 23 has been issued, disregarding Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin's concerns over the request.

 

Earlier this month Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) wrote to the IRS requesting six years of Trump's returns be handed in by last Wednesday. This is after the president had refused to release his returns during the 2016 campaign, as is customary, or in the two years since. He has said that they are under audit. 

Mnuchin appeared at a congressional hearing last week and indicated that Treasury attorneys had been in contact with the White House's attorneys regarding the tax returns. On Wednesday he wrote a letter indicating they would not be meeting the deadline.

 

On Saturday Neal sent a two-page letter to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig, responding to Mnuchin's statement that they would miss the deadline. He mentioned that the secretary's concerns "lack merit." 

Mnuchin had said previously that he had not rejected the request and only postponed it. Democrats had said they would send a second letter before they escalated the showdown by issuing a subpoena.

 

"Please know that, if you fail to comply, your failure will be interpreted as a denial of my request," Neal wrote in his latest letter. 

Mnuchin mentioned to reporters on Saturday that he was treading carefully with the request as it raises "very, very complicated" legal questions. He made it clear that a decision on this matter could have future repercussions for future congressional requests made of the IRS.

 

He mentioned that Treasury's legal team had begun meeting with Department of Justice attorneys, yet said he himself had not spoken with Attorney General William Barr regarding the president's tax returns. 

"I think it's more important to the American taxpayers that we get this right than ... hit an arbitrary deadline," explained Mnuchin.

 

"I'm not going to make a commitment prematurely as to whether we'll be able to conclude our legal review within [Neal's] deadline or not." 

Trump's personal attorney, William S. Consovoy, and congressional Republicans believe there is a danger of the tax return request being used for political gain. Consovoy referred to it as a "gross abuse of power."

 

Mnuchin's letter from last week said the request "raises serious issues concerning the constitutional scope of congressional investigative authority." 

"It is not the proper function of the IRS, Treasury, or justice to question or second-guess the motivations of the committee," Neal wrote in his more recent letter.

 

"Judicial precedent commands that none of the concerns raised can legitimately be used to deny the committee's request." 

Some legal experts believe that Neal is intentionally not handing out threats yet, waiting for an obvious denial of his request to improve his case, with many assuming this will eventually land in court.

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