By Richard Cowan
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The chairman of the U.S. Congress committee that has been given access to Donald Trump's tax returns on Thursday said he supported legislation requiring future presidents to make such information public.
"I think it would be fair to say that it would be a good idea for presidents down the road to be required to release their tax returns," House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal told reporters.
Neal added that he did not know whether U.S. presidential candidates should be included in such a requirement.
Former President Trump, unlike his predecessors over the past several decades, has refused to voluntarily make his tax filings public, saying that they were under audit by the Internal Revenue Service.
Neal spoke to reporters following a closed-door meeting with committee Democrats to review the complex legal and confidentiality constraints on the committee as it reviews and processes Trump's tax returns and those of his businesses spanning 2015 to 2020. The panel wants to review the auditing process of those documents.
Neal used his comments to reporters to dispute a "false" suggestion that Democrats on the panel on Thursday were meeting to review the Trump tax returns.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 22 cleared the release of those returns to Neal's committee, which has sought them for nearly four years.
With the start of a new Congress on Jan. 3, which will usher in Republican control of the House, Neal's panel does not have much time left to finish its work and make decisions on any formal committee response to the information it might glean from the Trump documents.
But the Democratic chairman added: "I intend to stick with this to see this through."
(Reporting by Richard Cowan, editing by Deepa Babington)