The chairman of a US Congressional committee has issued subpoenas for President Donald Trump’s tax returns.

Richard Neal said in a statement he did not “take this step lightly”, but believed it gave the committee “the best opportunity” to get the documents.

The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have until 17:00 (21:00 GMT) on 17 May to hand over six years of records.

The White House has so far refused requests to hand over the information.

Unlike previous presidents, Mr Trump has refused to disclose his tax details.

He has repeatedly said he is under audit by the IRS and so cannot release them – although the IRS says an audit would not stop the release of the information.

Democrats are investigating Mr Trump’s business interests and possible conflicts of interests while he is president, as well as his past financial dealings.

Mr Trump’s lawyer William Consovoy previously called the request for tax returns “harassment” and said the Treasury should not comply.

And Republican congressman Kevin Brady – member of the same Ways and Means Committee headed by Mr Neal – sent his chairman a letter on Friday asking him not to issue subpoenas.

Mr Brady argued it would be an “attempt to weaponise the tax code and use Congress’s legitimate oversight authority for political gain”.