Confidentiality of Tax Returns, Congressional Authority and the President
September 19, 2019 | New York Law Journal
Section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code sets out a simple “general rule” prohibiting federal employees from disclosing tax returns and return information. This straightforward provision is then modified by a maze of exceptions, several of which are the subject of litigation between Congressional Democrats seeking President Trump’s tax returns and the President seeking to avoid such disclosure. In this article, I discuss Section 6103’s many exceptions, Congress’s pending request for President Trump’s returns, and how litigation over the Congressional requests may provide a roadmap for both prosecutors seeking returns filed by targets in non-tax criminal investigations and civil litigants looking to avoid the heightened discovery burden when seeking copies of tax returns filed by their adversaries.