The year 2022 closed in the United States with the release to the public, on December 30, of former President Donald Trump’s 2015-2020 federal income tax return (Republican Party). With that an order of the Committee of Means and Procedures was complied with (WMC, from English Ways and Means Committee) of Congress, after have determined that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Internal Revenue Service) breached with its obligation to audit the accounts of the presidents and vice-presidents in office.
It is a rule established in the IRS manual since 1977. We explain it to you.
What, as a rule, must the Tax Collection Service do with the accounts of presidents and vice presidents?
In the Part 4, Chapter 8, Section 4 of the IRS Internal Collection Manual, the agency in charge of federal tax collection in the United Statesand which works as a dependency of the Treasury Departmentthe cases in which the audit is mandatory are specified.
One of them is titled “Audit of President and Vice President”; that is to say, the audit of the president and vice president.
Point number 1 in the manual states that “the individual taxes of the president and vice president are subject to mandatory review”.
Point number 2 explains that “the location of the president’s and vice president’s tax payments should be monitored at all times throughout the examination process”.
Furthermore, it is added that:
- Documentation must be kept in an orange folder at all times.
- This cannot be shown to other employees [distintos de quienes lleven a cabo la auditoría].
- The documentation must be locked in a security cabinet when the reviewer or inspector is out of their work area.
on this note We explain what has happened in the case of former President Donald Trump and why the WMC concludes that the IRS breached its obligations.
Where should tax information for the Presidents and Vice Presidents of the United States be collected?
The same section of the internal collection manual that talks about the mandatory audit of the president specifies that his tax documentation and that of the vice president must be sent to the South Atlantic Area Technical Services, in Baltimore, Maryland. This headquarters receives the tax information of residents of Maryland, Delaware and the District of Columbiawhere is the white house and, therefore, it is where the residence of the president and vice-president is established.
The IRS catalog details which technical and logistics service center corresponds to each audit based on the place of residence of an individual who pays taxes.
Why is the audit of presidents and vice presidents mandatory?
Suspecting that the then president Richard Nixon (Republican Party) was using his position to reduce IRS tax scrutiny of him, in 1974 the Joint Committee on the Collection of Taxes (JCT) He managed to get his tax documentation published.
On May 1 of that year, without giving further information in this regard, both the spokesperson for the president and the IRS announced that “Nixon would pay all his taxes.”
As a result of that scandal, In 1977 the IRS codified in its manuals the obligation to audit the 2 highest presidents of the countryto avoid that their employees could find themselves in a conflict about whether to scrutinize the accounts of their bosses (managers) or not.
Is it common for the IRS to postpone audits of presidents and vice presidents?
One of the claims of the Committee on Means and Procedures in its report of December 20, 2022 -About the review of the case of former President Donald Trump- is that the Tax Service does not make public the audit processes that they carry out on the accounts of the presidents. For this reason, in the conclusions the Committee recommends that “Congress codify that mandatory audits by the IRS take place while the president is in office, and that their results be made public.””.
factchecked sought to consult, via the IRS press officeif audits have been carried out on presidents and vice presidents since it is a mandatory procedure, but got no phone answer (way available to the media).
What has been made public, and why, on December 30?
The Ways and Means Committee (WMC) and the Joint Committee on the Collection of Taxes (JCT, from English Joint Committee on Taxation), both from the United States Congress, each issued a report on December 20, 2022, on the IRS’s work on tax audits on former President Trump.
They concluded that the IRS breached its obligation, so requested that all of Trump’s tax information be made public. That happened on December 30.
They were published then Donald Trump’s personal tax balances for the period 2015-2020that is, the 4 years that he was in the presidency (2017-2020) plus the 2 in which he was in contention (2015 and 2016).
That same information was also made public but from Melania Trump, wife of the former president, and from the business companies owned by the Republican. These are DJT Holdings, DTTM Operations y LFB Acquisition LLC. All of them for the same period: from 2015 to 2020, both included.
The first time the WMC asked the IRS for Donald Trump’s tax information it was in April 2019. This it was not delivered, however, until November 22, 2022, with the intervention of the Supreme Court.
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