By Moira Warburton and Ismail Shakil
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. House of Representatives committee has obtained access to Donald Trump's tax returns, following a years-long court fight with the Republican former president who has accused the Democratic-led panel of being politically motivated.
"Treasury has complied with last week's court decision," a Treasury Department spokesperson said in an emailed statement late on Wednesday. The spokesperson declined to say whether the committee had yet accessed the documents. The development was reported earlier by CNN.
The Ways and Means Committee obtained the tax returns following a Supreme Court decision clearing their release. It has been seeking the returns spanning 2015 through 2020, which it says it needs to establish whether the Internal Revenue Service is properly auditing presidential returns and whether new legislation is needed.
The panel will have little time to do its work, with Republicans poised to take the House majority in January.
Trump, who on Nov. 15 began his third consecutive run for the presidency, fought the committee tooth and nail to avoid releasing them.
He was the first president in four decades not to release his tax returns as he sought to keep secret the details of his wealth and the activities of his real estate company, the Trump Organization. It had long been customary, though not required, for major party presidential candidates to release their returns.
Trump, who served as president from 2017 to 2021, reported heavy losses from his business enterprises over several years to offset hundreds of millions of dollars in income, according to news media reporting and trial testimony about his finances. That allowed him to pay very little in taxes.
A major question hanging over the committee's work is what will happen to the returns when Republicans take control of the House from the Democrats. The committee first requested Trump's returns in 2019.
Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee, the counterpart to the Ways and Means Committee, were considering their options on any action relating to Trump's tax returns, according to an aide who spoke on condition of anonymity. Democrats held their Senate majority in November's midterm elections.
(Reporting by Moira Warburton; Additional reporting by Ismail Shakil and Kanishka Singh; Editing by Scott Malone, Grant McCool, Rosalba O'Brien and Sandra Maler)