The President's Tax Returns
27 Geo. Mason L. Rev. __ (2020) (2nd Annual Administrative Law Symposium), Forthcoming
39 Pages Posted: 14 Jun 2019 Last revised: 7 Jan 2020
Date Written: November 3, 2019
This Article examines whether congressional committees enjoy the unrestricted authority to demand a President’s tax returns. It concludes that they do not. Though a federal statute seemingly compels the IRS to furnish, on request, anyone’s tax returns to some congressional committees, a statute cannot transcend the constitutional limits on Congress’s investigative authority. Congress enjoys a near-automatic right to review a President’s tax returns only through a proper impeachment inquiry.
After analyzing the general constitutional principles, the Article briefly examines the House Ways & Means Committee’s disputed request for President Trump’s tax return information. That controversy remains ongoing, and subsequent events may affect the legitimacy of any congressional request for that information. However, the Article expresses doubt that the Committee’s request satisfies the relevant constitutional standard.
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