On May 25, 2016, Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced the “Presidential Tax Transparency Act”, a proposed new law which would amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to require major party candidates for the office of President to disclose recent tax return information.
Specifically, the bill would require that not later than 15 days after the nomination of a candidate of a major party for the office of President, the candidate must file with the Federal Election Commission a copy of the candidate’s income tax returns for the 3 most recent tax years for which a return has been filed with IRS, as of the date of the nomination. If the returns aren’t filed, the Chairman of the Commission must request that the Treasury Department provide the returns. The returns are to be made publicly available in the same manner as other reports and statements filed with the Commission.
“Tax returns deliver honest answers to key questions from the American public,” Mr. Wyden said in a news release. “Do you even pay taxes? Do you give to charity? Are you abusing tax loopholes at the expense of middle class families? Are you keeping your money offshore? People have a right to know.”
In announcing the proposed legislation, Mr. Wyden also said that over the past 40 years, every President had released tax returns during the campaign, but that federal financial disclosure rules had not required doing so. He also pointed out that all nominees for federal posts subject to Senate confirmation are required by the Finance Committee to submit tax return information.