Congressional investigators will soon be able to obtain the tax returns that President Donald Trump filed with the state of New York — and two tax experts believe that this could deliver significant information about the president’s finances.
Writing in the New York Times, University of Chicago Law School professor Daniel Hemel and Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center senior fellow Steven Rosenthal break down the extensive information that Congress can cull from the president’s state taxes — although they caution that it won’t provide the same comprehensive picture as his federal returns.
Among other things, the New York returns will show whether Trump actually has any gross annual income, which would mark a change from the late 1980s and early 1990s when he was in the process of posting losses totaling $1 billion.
“We already know that he claimed tax losses to offset his income from 1985 to 1995,” they write. “His New York State returns will show whether he made similar assertions in later years.”
Hemel and Rosenthal also argue that Congress will learn just how hard the I.R.S. has actually scrutinized Trump’s taxes in the past.
“Mr. Trump’s New York returns will allow House investigators to reconstruct the results of any past audits,” they write. “State law requires taxpayers to file amended New York returns whenever the I.R.S. has made changes to the taxpayer’s federal returns. By comparing Mr. Trump’s amended returns to his state returns over time, House investigators can learn whether the I.R.S. came down hard on Mr. Trump before he took office and whether the pattern has changed since he took charge.”