I am very interested in Congress subpoenaing the IRS for Trump's individual Tax Return for the last 6 years.

I realize they have oversight. But it would look to me as an one outside of the law profession, that they can ask the IRS for any type of report they want, along with the limits of what ever group they want, but to ask for a single individual return would fall outside of over sight.

Do you see the congress as being able to subpoena the IRS to provide any private individuals tax return as oversight?

It sure looks like weaponizing the IRS to me.

It just looks like the perfect way to eliminate any political adversary.

The law I am seeing that is in question is 6103(f)

6103(f) Disclosure to Committees of Congress (1) Committee on Ways and Means, Committee on Finance, and Joint Committee on Taxation Upon written request from the chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives, the chairman of the Committee on Finance of the Senate, or the chairman of the Joint Committee on Taxation, the Secretary shall furnish such committee with any return or return information specified in such request, except that any return or return information which can be associated with, or otherwise identify, directly or indirectly, a particular taxpayer shall be furnished to such committee only when sitting in closed executive session unless such taxpayer otherwise consents in writing to such disclosure.

Does it look normal to you that the Congress would request the Return of any single individual?

  • 1
    It's called the law. Apr 24, 2019 at 14:47
  • 3
    You've noted what the law says, and we can't go beyond that. The question of how we individually "feel" about the law is off topic.
    – user6726
    Apr 24, 2019 at 15:02
  • 2
    Congress has a legal duty to oversight. For something to be subpoenaed a reason must be given, if the person being subpoenaed disagrees with its relevance then it goes to court where a judge will uphold or quash the subpoena. Any further information about how we "feel" about what Congress does, would be a better fit for politic.SE Apr 24, 2019 at 15:07
  • 3
    In context, as I understand it, the law was passed in the 1920s in the wake of the Teapot Dome scandal. It seems clear to me that the intention was that Congress should be able to view the tax returns of specific individuals, in order to investigate possible wrongdoing by those individuals. It's not just about general oversight of the taxation system. So I think the request is in keeping with the spirit of the law. Now, whether that law ought to exist in the first place is a separate question, but one that is outside the scope of this site. Apr 24, 2019 at 15:18
  • You might be interested in the Politics site. There are already some related questions there.
    – phoog
    Apr 24, 2019 at 16:22

1 Answer 1


The law you cite says that

the Secretary shall furnish such committee with any return or return information specified in such request

That includes specific individual returns. That it was intended to include such returns is made clear by the provisions restricting identifiable individual data to executive session.

Whether this ought to be the law might well be debated. Whether the House ought to use this law as a way to get at Trump's returns could also be debated. Those are matters of politics, or perhaps ethics, not law.

Whether some other provision of law overrides this provision in this case is pretty clearly going to be argued in court, and we will see what the decision is. I won't try to predict it here.

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