United States

U.S. Justice Dept says IRS must give former President Trump's tax returns to Congress

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Former President Donald Trump speaks to his supporters during the Save America Rally at the Sarasota Fairgrounds in Sarasota, Florida, U.S. July 3, 2021. REUTERS/Octavio Jones

WASHINGTON, July 30 (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department on Friday ordered the Internal Revenue Service to hand over former President Donald Trump's tax returns to a House of Representatives committee, saying the panel has offered "sufficient reasons" for requesting the material.

The department's Office of Legal Counsel reversed course and declared that the department erred in 2019 when Trump was still in office when it found that the request for his taxes by the Democratic-led House Ways and Means Committee was based on a "disingenuous" objective aimed at exposing them to the public.

"We cannot know where receipt of the requested tax information will take the committee, any more than the committee itself can predict what it will find or determine," wrote Acting Assistant Attorney General Dawn Johnsen for the Office of Legal Counsel.

However, Johnsen noted, "the respect due a co-equal branch of government requires that we presume the Committee will handle the tax information it receives with sensitivity to taxpayer privacy concerns."

Unlike other recent presidents, Trump did not publicly disclose his tax returns.

Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch Editing by Chris Reese and Will Dunham

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