Trump tax records can go to US Congress, Supreme Court rules

Donald Trump first US president in 40 years not to publicly share tax returns

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The US Supreme Court on Tuesday cleared the release of Donald Trump's tax returns to a congressional committee, handing a defeat to the Republican former president who had called the Democratic-led panel's request politically motivated.

The justices denied Mr Trump's October 31 emergency application to block a lower court's ruling that upheld a request by the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee to release the tax records as part of the panel's legislative work while his lawyers prepared an appeal.

No justice has publicly dissented from the decision.

The fight over the committee's request is one of many of Mr Trump's legal woes, as he moves forward with another run for the presidency in 2024, having announced his candidacy last week.

Tuesday's order superseded one issued by Chief Justice John Roberts on November 1 that had effectively paused the dispute and prevented the panel from obtaining Mr Trump's returns while the court considered how to proceed.

Mr Trump was the first president in four decades not to release his tax returns as he sought to keep secret the details of his wealth and the activities of his company, the Trump Organisation.

The Ways and Means Committee has been seeking the documents since 2019, when it asked the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for them.

The panel cited a 1924 law that lets the leaders of three committees in Congress ask the US Treasury secretary for the returns of any taxpayer.

The Treasury Department refused to comply with the request while Mr Trump was in office and the committee then went to court. Mr Trump picked up the fight on his own when the department under President Joe Biden said it would turn over the documents.

The committee told the Supreme Court in a legal filing that siding with Mr Trump would harm the constitutional authority of a coequal branch of government “by, in effect, preventing Congress from completing any investigation involving a former president whenever there are allegations that the investigation was politically motivated”.

News agencies contributed to this report

Updated: November 22, 2022, 8:49 PM