Donald Trump directed that tax returns be turned over to Congress.
The US Department of Justice has directed the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to provide Congress with former President Donald Trump’s tax returns.
The decision reverses a 2019 finding that the House Ways and Means Committee’s request was “disingenuous.”
The decision appears to bring an end to a protracted legal battle over the records and is widely viewed as a severe legal setback for Mr Trump.
Despite the fact that it is not required by law, every US president since 1976 – except Mr Trump – has released his or her tax returns.
Mr Trump has yet to publicly comment on the latest developments, despite the fact that he still has legal options to appeal the ruling.
Republicans on Capitol Hill blasted the decision as politically motivated.
Mr Trump repeatedly stated during his presidency that he was under IRS audit and thus could not release his tax returns – despite the IRS’s assertion that an audit would not prevent the release of the information.
The House Ways and Means Committee previously argued that it required the Republican former president’s tax returns in order to conduct an investigation into his compliance with tax law.
However, the Trump administration’s justice department refused to hand them over. It contended that they were sought for partisan political gain by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.
The justice department’s Office of Legal Counsel concluded in a Friday opinion that the committee “has invoked sufficient justifications” for requesting the tax information.
“Treasury must provide the Committee with the requested information,” the opinion stated.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, praised the decision, saying the American people “deserve to know the facts about his troubling conflicts and undermining of our security and democracy as president.”
Mr Trump was ordered by the US Supreme Court in February to turn over his tax returns and other financial records to New York prosecutors.
Mr Trump was dealt a blow by the decision, as he had been fighting a legal battle to keep his records safe from a grand jury.
He has maintained his innocence throughout and has referred to the investigation into his tax affairs as a “witch hunt.”