He had said his returns were under audit by the IRS as a justification for not disclosing the returns.
But there is no prohibition on taxpayers releasing their returns to the public even when those returns are being audited.
The Justice Department’s opinion, coming as it does under an attorney general, Merrick Garland, picked by President Joe Biden, is likely to ire Trump.
A spokeswoman for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., said in a statement, “As I have maintained for years, the Committee’s case is very strong and the law is on our side.”
“I am glad that the Department of Justice agrees and that we can move forward,” Neal said.
Neal’s committee in July 2019 had sued the Treasury Department and the IRS to obtain Trump’s tax returns after then-Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and the head of the tax agency defied subpoenas demanding six years’ of Trump’s personal and business returns. Mnuchin at the time contended that the committee had no legitimate legislative purpose in seeking the documents.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in a statement, said, “Today, the Biden Administration has delivered a victory for the rule of law, as it respects the public interest by complying with Chairman Neal’s request for Donald Trump’s tax returns.”
“As Speaker, on behalf of the House of Representatives, I applaud Chairman Neal for his dignified pursuit of the truth and the Biden Administration Department of Justice for its respect for the law,” Pelosi said.
“Access to former President Trump’s tax returns is a matter of national security,” she said. “The American people deserve to know the facts of his troubling conflicts of interest and undermining of our security and democracy as president.”