The US Treasury Department said that it would not immediately comply with a congressional request to hand over President Donald Trump's tax returns.
On Wednesday evening, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a letter to Representative Richard E. Neal, the Democratic chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, that the Department's lawyers needed more time to assess the lawfulness of the request and expressed concern that it would be a violation of taxpayer privacy, reports The New York Times.
Mnuchin did not say how much time the review would take but conveyed concerns about whether Congress has authority to review the records.
"The committee's request raises serious issues concerning the constitutional investigative authority, the legitimacy of the asserted legislative purpose and the constitutional rights of American citizens," Mnuchin wrote.
"The legal implications of this request could affect protections for all Americans against politically motivated disclosures of tax information, regardless of which party is in power."
In response, Neal indicated that he believed the request was a matter for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), not the Treasury secretary, saying: "I will consult with counsel and determine the appropriate response to the commissioner in the coming days."
eal is expected to send a follow-up letter demanding the tax returns and outlining potential next steps, which could include a subpoena or a lawsuit.
The issue could ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court.
Trump said on Wednesday that he would not turn over his tax returns because they remained under audit by the IRS.
The President, who has used the excuse of an IRS audit since the 2016 presidential campaign, made clear he would continue to cite that as a reason not to release his tax records, even though no law prevents a taxpayer from releasing returns while under audit.
( 310 Words)