Court Battles

Federal court can’t force IRS to release Trump’s tax returns

A federal judge on Friday said that the court could not compel the IRS to turn over President Trump’s tax returns. 
The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) launched a suit against the IRS earlier this year after the agency refused to hand over the documents as part of an open-records request.
Through the Freedom of Information Act, EPIC had sought Trump’s personal tax returns from 2010 to the present day and any documents that may reveal financial relationships with the Russian government or Russian businesses.
However, personal tax forms are confidential. They can only be obtained if Trump himself gave the IRS permission to reveal the returns or if Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation signed off to allow the disclosure.{mosads}
“What [EPIC] wants in this case is to peer into another person’s income-tax records. Although the Court has no reason to doubt EPIC’s assertion that the return information on this particular individual — President Trump — would be of interest to the public, that fact does not give the organization a viable legal case,” wrote U.S. District Judge James Boasberg, in granting the government’s motion for a dismissal.
The fact that the tax returns belong to the president “does not alter the outcome here,” the judge wrote. 
The issue of Trump’s taxes has been ongoing since the presidential race. 
Though not required, candidates in modern history made it a practice to release them, giving a window into their personal and professional lives.
Prior to running for president, Trump said he would definitely release them. 
However, that began to shift during the campaign: At first he said that he couldn’t release them because he was under audit by the IRS — and would do so once the audit was complete — and then pivoted to say that he wouldn’t be releasing them at all. The IRS has said an audit does not prevent an individual from releasing personal tax documents.
During an interview with The Economist earlier this year, he told the publication that he might consider disclosing the returns after he leaves the White House.
“Nobody cares about my tax return except for the reporters. Oh, at some point, I’ll release them. Maybe I’ll release them after I’m finished because I’m very proud of them, actually. I did a good job,” he said in May. 
There are multiple lawsuits pending that mention wanting Trump’s personal tax returns. Some, such as one filed by watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, argue that ties to foreign businesses violate the Constitution’s foreign emoluments clause.
If any of the cases succeed in obtaining the tax returns, it is unclear if the documents would be allowed to be made public.  
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