01/15/2012 12:21 pm ET Updated Jan 15, 2012

Newt Gingrich To Release Income Tax Returns, Challenges Mitt Romney To Do The Same

WASHINGTON -- When President Obama releases his tax returns on Thursday, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says he will be doing the same.

"President Obama is releasing his records this coming Thursday. I will release my income tax records. Callista and I have discussed it," Gingrich said on NBC's "Meet the Press," referring to discussions with his wife. "We agree this is part of the process of the American people having trust in the candidates."

Gingrich also challenged GOP presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney to release his records, saying that "he will never get through the fall without releasing his records, and it's better to do it in the primary season so the country understands what's going on and not wait and be surprised in September."

Romney has so far said he has no intention of doing so.

Though not required by law, most recent presidential and vice-presidential nominees have chosen to made their tax returns public. Former Alaska governor and 2008 vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin also said recently that Romney should release his.

Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul told USA Today the campaign will "look at the question of releasing tax returns during the next tax-filing season." She added that Gingrich "is in no position to lecture anyone on disclosure," because he still has not disclosed all the information on his consulting work for Freddie Mac.

When asked by "Meet the Press" host David Gregory whether Romney is hiding something by not releasing his returns, Gingrich replied, "I don't know that. You are the reporter. I'll let you decide that. I know that the country deserves accountability and they deserve transparency, and these are big issues and they're not issues you can hide from. I'm going to try to set the example to provide leadership to do the right thing, and then Gov. Romney has to decide what he is going to do. That's his decision, and I will let you determine why he makes that decision."

Romney's wealth is estimated to be between $190 million and $250 million, according to financial disclosure reports.