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house Bill H.R. 162

Should the President be Required to Publicly Disclose His Tax Return?

Argument in favor

Requiring the disclosure of a president’s federal income tax return would make the public aware of any conflict of interest and encourage presidents to divest themselves of anything that may create a conflict.

Steve's Opinion
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03/09/2019
This should be a requirement for ALL politicians.
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Linda's Opinion
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03/09/2019
If this president has taught this nation anything, it is the necessity of transparency. Whether he’s hiding something or hiding nothing at all we have the right to know. Our leaders cannot even appear to be the puppets of foreign powers or corporate conglomerates.
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John's Opinion
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03/09/2019
We have a right to know if he evaded paying taxes because if he is unwilling to disclose something that simple, what other skeletons are going to be in his closet that will prevent him from properly performing his duties.
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Argument opposed

It’s wrong for Congress to require any individual to publicly disclose their tax return, even if they are the president or their spouse. Moreover, this is a partisan bill that the sponsor didn’t care to introduce during the current administration.

Jim's Opinion
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03/09/2019
If he should all of Congress should also, they are all public servants.
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Sean's Opinion
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03/09/2019
No one cares! His “leaked” 2005 tax records show he paid more in taxes than Bernie. Stop trying to bring stuff up and focus on improving life for American Citizens!
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Treslobos007's Opinion
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03/09/2019
Not a public matter, the same way anyone else’s tax returns are not a public matter.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Ways and Means
    IntroducedJanuary 3rd, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 162?

This bill would require the president to publicly disclose their federal income tax return and all related attachments by making it available on the internet at providing the returns to relevant congressional committees. If a president fails to provide the required tax information or falsifies it, the Attorney General would be able to bring a civil action against them with penalty of up to $50,000. When a new president takes office, they would be required to submit their prior year’s federal income tax return within 90 days.

Certain redactions would be allowed, including the president’s Social Security number, taxpayer identification number, account numbers, and the name of any dependents of the president. If a president’s spouse files a joint return or a separate return, it would be subject to this legislation’s requirements.

Impact

Presidents and their spouses; Congress; and the Attorney General.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 162

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress as part of a package of anti-corruption legislation intended to significantly reform Congress and increase executive branch accountability and transparency:

“It is an honor to represent and serve the people of Bucks and Montgomery counties in the 116th Congress. I look forward to serving as their independent voice in Washington during a time when our citizens face a dysfunctional, hyper-partisan, and broken Washington. I believe that these ideas introduced today transcend political parties and strike at the heart of what our country needs: a rebirth of belief in our leaders and institutions so we can tackle the challenges we face and accomplish great things in this new era. Transparency and unimpeachable integrity are essential to a government that truly serves the people of the United States. This anti-corruption legislation will help restore the American’s people’s faith in Congress and hold public officials accountable."

Last Congress, Rep. David Cicilline (D-CT) introduced this bill to require President Donald Trump to release his tax returns and ensure that all future presidents to follow suit:

“Like many Americans, I am deeply concerned about what information President-elect Trump might be hiding in his tax returns... Americans should always have full confidence that the President is acting in our national interest, but President-elect Trump continues to undermine this confidence. This bill is a necessary tool to hold the President of the United States accountable and ensure he adheres to the highest ethical standards at all times."

This Congress, there's one cosponsor of this bill, Rep. Thomas Suozzi (D-NY). Last Congress, there were 28 cosponsors in the House, all of whom are Democrats.


Of Note: The last president to not release any tax returns or summary information was Lyndon B. Johnson.

President Trump's lawyers have threatened a court fight over the release of his tax returns. As of February 2019, Democrats are expected to go directly to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to demand Trump's tax returns under an obscure law giving the leaders of the House and Senate tax-writing committees the power to request taxpayer information.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user Gage Skidmore / Creative Commons)

AKA

Presidential Tax Transparency Act

Official Title

To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to require public disclosure of individual tax returns of candidates for President and Vice President of the United States.

    This should be a requirement for ALL politicians.
    Like (387)
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    If he should all of Congress should also, they are all public servants.
    Like (222)
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    If this president has taught this nation anything, it is the necessity of transparency. Whether he’s hiding something or hiding nothing at all we have the right to know. Our leaders cannot even appear to be the puppets of foreign powers or corporate conglomerates.
    Like (213)
    Follow
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    We have a right to know if he evaded paying taxes because if he is unwilling to disclose something that simple, what other skeletons are going to be in his closet that will prevent him from properly performing his duties.
    Like (142)
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    ABSOLUTELY YES ALL presidential candidates ( including especially Trump!!!) should be required to release last 10 years of tax returns NO EXCEPTIONS
    Like (102)
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    Hell yes! I am tired of Trump's LIES. I want to see proof if he has ever acted like a NORMAL AMERICAN CITIZEN! WHAT'S LEFT OF THE MIDDLE CLASS PAYS TAXES. PAST AMERICAN POLICY HAS TAXED THE RICH WITH PERCENTAGES RANGING FROM 70% TO 92%. Those policies allowed America to build the Interstate Highways, Pay Our Children's Teachers a DECENT LIVING WAGE WHILE ALLOWING CLASSES LIKE BAND CLASS, TYPING CLASSES, COOKING CLASSES, SCHOOL PLAYS, SHOP CLASSES! THINGS THAT ALLOWED OUR CHILDREN TO HELP THEM DECIDE WHAT THEY WANTED TO DO FOR WORK WHEN THEY WERE GROWN UPS. THERE HAS ALWAYS BEEN THE SAYING THAT IN AMERICA DEATH AND TAXES WERE TO BE ACCEPTED. TRUMP NOR THE WEALTHIEST AMONG US SHOULD HAVE THE ABILITY TO SKIP THE NORMAL WAY OF LIFE THE REST OF US HAVE HAD TO ACCEPT. IF HE HAS SKIPPED PAYING TAXES, HE SHOULDN'T BE ALLOWED TO BE AN AMERICAN. AND AFTER WATCHING THAT HORROR OF A JUDGE IN THE MANAFORT CASE IMPOSE SUCH A LENIENT SENTENCE AND HEAR HIM SAY MANAFORT HAS OTHERWISE LEAD AN UNBLEMISHED LIFE MADE ME MAD ENOUGH TO WANT HIM DISBARRED. THE OBVIOUS DISPARITY BETWEEN THE RICH AND POOR IN AMERICA'S JUSTICE SYSTEM HAS GOT TO END. IF THERE ARE CONSEQUENCES FOR ACTIONS, THEY NEED TO APPLY EQUALLY TO ALL.
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    No one cares! His “leaked” 2005 tax records show he paid more in taxes than Bernie. Stop trying to bring stuff up and focus on improving life for American Citizens!
    Like (71)
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    Not a public matter, the same way anyone else’s tax returns are not a public matter.
    Like (70)
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    Of course. Why in the world not?
    Like (69)
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    All those seeking public office, especially the President and Vice President should have to provide at least ten years of tax returns to even file to run.
    Like (53)
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    I can't believe we need this legislation. Any president-elect should theoretically be willing to show their tax returns willingly. All past presidents in recent history have do so willingly. Oh yeah, now we have Trump. What is he hiding, anyway?
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    Not only should tax returns be made public, but proof of citizenship (birth certificate) and military records for anyone filing for election as President should all be required documents.
    Like (46)
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    It’s never been a requirement, not even for Democrats. If you want to open that can of worms, apply it to all elected public officials. Maybe we can clean this mess up in one fell swoop!
    Like (43)
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    Should have done it BEFORE THE 2016 ELECTION! Definitely, want them, even more so, now! I WANT TO SEE ALL HIS GRADES FROM ALL HIS SCHOOLS, TOO! THAT INCLUDES SAT’S, ETC. IF HE’S AS BRIGHT AS HE SAYS HE IS, THERE SHOULD NOT BE A PROBLEM, RIGHT? IT WON’T OFFEND US, IF HE’S SO MUCH BRIGHTER THAN THE REST OF US. WILL IT, FOLKS? Right on, Leslie! Great one, Anna! So true!
    Like (41)
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    This should be expanded to Congress as well.
    Like (35)
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    Not showing your tax returns is inherently dishonest
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    If I have to provide my tax records in order to buy a home, the POTUS can certainly submit them before taking the highest office in the country.
    Like (28)
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    He’s a public figure. “Public”. In order to serve us, we need to know who he serves, who he takes money from, and who he’s indebted to.
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    This is Transparency 101. It is absolutely ridiculous that we could elect someone to the highest office in the land and not know anything about their financial connections.
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    What is the benefit of seeing anyone’s tax return. If the IRS did not like the return they would audit it and challenge the return. It should begin and end there not just for the president but every American
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