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IRS treated Obama and Trump Differently

By Joseph Green-Bishop
Metro News Correspondent

President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama

When Barack Obama was president the Internal Revenue Service audited his personal tax returns each year that he was in office. The practice was mandated by a rule that the occupant of the White House be audited annually.

During the first two years of the Trump administration, however, the 45th president’s tax returns were not audited. They were not scrutinized until 2019 when a member of the House of Representatives, Richard Neal, a Democrat from Massachusetts, asked the IRS about the required audit.

“I am absolutely flabbergasted,” said Nina Olson, the national taxpayer advocate who served in that position at the IRS from 2001 until 2019. “If you have a process that calls for auditing the president you better be auditing the president.”

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

The Ways and Means Committee was so alarmed that Trump’s returns had not been audited that it has called for an investigation into why Trump received favor from the agency. Under Chairman Neal, the committee demanded to receive Trump’s tax records beginning in 2019. It was not until a couple of months ago that the committee finally received the returns.

Senator Ron Wyden, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, called the disparities in treatment between presidents Obama and Trump deeply troubling. “There is no justification that could explain why different presidents were treated differently,” he said.

The mandate that the tax returns of presidents receive an annual audit is contained in the ‘Internal Review Manual,’ an IRS document. The rule was created in 1977 in response to accusations that former President Richard M. Nixon had not reported his entire income on his tax returns.

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