Wednesday, May 29, 2019
New York Times op-ed: New York Can Tell Congress Lots About Trump’s Taxes, by Daniel Hemel (Chicago) & Steven Rosenthal (Tax Policy Center):
Congress will soon have access to a treasure trove of information about President Trump’s taxes. It just needs to ask New York.
A new state law, which sailed through the New York Legislature and now awaits the signature of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, would allow the heads of Congress’s tax-writing committees to request a public official’s state tax returns to aid the committees in a “legitimate” task.
The law does not single out President Trump, but it will permit the House Ways and Means Committee — which has so far been stymied by the Treasury Department in its investigation of Mr. Trump’s taxes — to obtain evidence of his tax reporting practices and the results of I.R.S. audits. When Mr. Cuomo signs the legislation — which he has said he will do — Richard Neal, the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, need only ask Albany for the records. ...
The information that New York has in its possession will reveal whether Mr. Trump continues to zero out his taxable income with dubious tax losses and whether the I.R.S. has ever successfully challenged Mr. Trump’s tax-minimization moves.
To understand how the New York information could prove useful, it helps to understand why the Ways and Means Committee wants to see Mr. Trump’s tax files in the first place. Mr. Trump is the first president in 40 years to refuse to release his returns to the public. He is also the first president to boast openly and unabashedly about his use of tax shelters, which he described as “sport.” ...
Obtaining the New York returns won’t be the end of the inquiry by Mr. Neal’s committee, but it will be a major step forward in the investigation that Mr. Trump won’t be able to block.