On Thursday (December 22), the House passed a bill requiring Presidents to be subject to annual audits of their tax returns, codifying an IRS policy that former President Donald Trump managed to skirt in two of the four years he held Office.
The legislation, known as the Presidential Tax Filings and Audit Transparency Act, passed predominantly on a party-line vote of 222 – 201, with only five Republican lawmakers joining their Democratic counterparts.
The Republicans who supported the measure include outgoing Reps. Liz Cheney (Wyo.), Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), Tom Rice (S.C.), Fred Upton (Mich.), and John Katko (N.Y.).
The Internal Revenue Service has required sitting Presidents to be subject to an annual audit — a policy that has been upheld since 1977. However, the policy’s terms are in the agency’s regulatory manual and not federal law, potentially allowing a sitting President to skirt the policy.
The Presidential Tax Filings and Audit Transparency Act intends to codify the agency’s auditing process terms. It comes after the House Ways and Means Committee voted to release a report that detailed how the IRS’s mandatory program was run during Trump’s time in Office and, with that release, six years of Trump’s tax returns.
According to the report, Trump wasn’t audited in 2017 and 2018, despite the then-President filing for both years. The IRS only began auditing Trump’s tax returns as part of the terms of its mandatory Presidential audit program in 2019.
Coincidentally the IRS only began its audit on Trump’s 2019 tax returns on the same day House Ways and Means Committee chairman Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.) requested Trump’s Tax returns from IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig.