Democrats ask GAO to investigate IRS Trump audit delay

The exterior of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) building in Washington.
Susan Walsh/Associated Press
The exterior of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) building in Washington.

A group of House Democrats sent a letter on Thursday asking the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to investigate why the IRS failed to “adequately conduct mandatory audits” into former President Trump’s tax returns.

Rep. Jimmy Gomez (Calif.) and 14 other Democratic representatives from the House Ways and Means Committee sent a letter to Gene Dodaro, the head of the GAO, to request an investigation into why the IRS did not complete its mandatory audits of Trump’s tax returns during his time in office.

In the letter obtained by The Hill, the lawmakers also requested that the GAO issue a report of its findings, including answering questions on why the IRS failed to complete the audits, why the agency did not ask for additional resources and how could Congress strengthen the presidential audit program.

“Members of Congress need further information related to the failures to conduct presidential audits during the Trump Administration to ensure that, as elected representatives, we are adequately equipped to assess and address the integrity and continued function of the presidential audit program, as well as necessary improvements to the program,” the letter states.

The Ways and Means Committee released a report into its investigation into the IRS’s presidential audit program in December, and found that the IRS did not audit Trump in 2017 or 2018, and that IRS started his first audit in 2019. The report also found that the IRS started auditing Trump the same day that then-House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal (D-Mass.) asked for Trump’s tax returns.

The letter said it appeared that only Neal’s request prompted the IRS to begin the audit of Trump’s tax returns. Shortly after the report was issued, House Democrats passed a bill that would legally require annual audits of the president’s tax returns.

The IRS regulations require that sitting presidents are audited every year, but this requirement is only outlined in the agency’s manual, not in federal law. The lawmakers who signed the letter are also asking the GAO for insights into how they can ensure the mandatory presidential audits occur every year.

“Given the urgency and gravity of the matter, we are requesting an audit to understand what additional resources and changes are necessary to ensure mandatory Presidential audits occur seamlessly,” the letter states.

Tags gao IRS Jimmy Gomez Jimmy Gomez Trump tax returns Ways and Means Committee

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