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House committee receives Donald Trump’s federal tax returns from IRS

Former U.S. President Donald Trump arrives onstage to announce that he will once again run for U.S. president in the 2024 U.S. presidential election, during an event at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S. November 15, 2022. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Jonathan Ernst Reuters
Former U.S. President Donald Trump arrives onstage to announce that he will once again run for U.S. president in the 2024 U.S. presidential election, during an event at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S. November 15, 2022. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

   (CNN) -- The House Ways and Means Committee now has six years of Donald Trump's federal tax returns, ending a yearslong pursuit by Democrats to dig into one of the former president's most closely guarded personal details, the Treasury Department confirmed.

"Treasury has complied with last week's court decision," a Treasury spokesperson told CNN on Wednesday.

The Supreme Court declined last week to intervene after courts said the House had power to request the returns from the IRS.

The committee, led by Democratic Rep. Richard Neal of Massachusetts, had sought six years of Trump's tax records, primarily from the time he served as president. That included records about both Trump personally and several of his corporate entities.

The documents are not expected to be immediately released to the public.

Neal said Wednesday that Democrats would meet as a caucus to discuss how to handle the tax returns and get legal advice on how to proceed. Such a meeting, though, hasn't been scheduled yet, he said.

The congressman declined to say if they would release any of the returns publicly. "The next step is to have a meeting of the Democratic caucus," he said.

Trump's legal team had continuously sought to keep his returns secret, and turned to the Supreme Court -- composed of three of his nominees -- after he lost at the lower court level.

"No Congress has ever wielded its legislative powers to demand a President's tax returns," Trump argued to the Supreme Court, as he warned of the "far-reaching implications" implications of the DC Circuit's ruling. He had argued that that the way lower courts approached the House request ran afoul of the Supreme Court's ruling in the Mazars case, concerning a subpoena that the House issued Trump's accounting firm for his tax information.

Trump's taxes have been largely a mystery since he first ran for office.

During his 2016 campaign, the Trump broke with presidential election norms and refused to produce his tax returns for public review, and they remained private after he took office.

Being under audit by the IRS does not preclude someone from releasing their tax returns publicly. But that hasn't stopped Trump from using it as a defense against releasing his financial information.

In 2016, Trump released a letter from his tax attorneys that confirmed he was under audit. But the letter also said the IRS finished reviewing Trump's taxes from 2002 through 2008. Trump did not release his tax returns from those years, even though the audits were over.

An expansive New York Times report in 2020 found that Trump paid no federal income taxes whatsoever in 10 out of 15 years beginning in 2000 because he reported losing significantly more than he made.

This story has been updated with additional information Wednesday.

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