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Eshoo Introduces Legislation to Require Presidential Candidates to Release Tax Returns

June 7th, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18) today introduced the Presidential Tax Transparency Act to require presidential nominees of major political parties to publicly disclose their previous three years of federal tax returns. Nominees would be required to file their returns with the Federal Election Commission within 15 days of receiving their party’s nomination. The bill is the companion legislation to S. 2979, authored by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR).

“The American people justifiably have the expectation that those who are the nominees for the highest office in the land should be open and transparent about their tax returns,” Eshoo said. “Tax returns are highly instructive. They contain vital information, such as did the person pay any taxes; did the person make charitable contributions; did the person take advantage of tax loopholes; or did the person keep money offshore.

“As former presidential candidate Mitt Romney stated earlier this year, ‘tax returns provide the public with its sole confirmation of the veracity of a candidate’s representations regarding charities, priorities, wealth, tax conformance, and conflicts of interest.’ I couldn’t agree more, and that’s why I’ve introduced this important legislation.”

Background
According to the Tax History Project, every President since 1976 has released their tax returns prior to taking office, but this practice is not required by current law. The Presidential Tax Transparency Act requires all major party nominees to publicly disclose three years of tax returns. “Major parties” are defined in the tax code as parties whose candidate received more than 25 percent of the popular vote in the previous presidential election. If a candidate fails to disclose their tax returns, the Secretary of the Treasury is required to provide redacted copies to the Federal Election Commission for public disclosure.

The text of the Presidential Tax Transparency Act can be found here.

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