Obama and Biden Release Tax Returns


Just a few days ahead of the tax-filing deadline, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden released their 2011 tax returns on Friday.

Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama filed a joint tax return, according to White House spokesman Jay Carney, in which they reported adjusted gross income of $798,674. “About half of the first family’s income is the President’s salary; the other half is from sales proceeds of the President’s books,” Carney wrote in a blog post on the White House Web site. “The Obamas paid $162,074 in total tax.” Obama’s effective federal income tax rate is 20.5 percent. The Obamas also released their Illinois income tax return and reported paying $31,941 in state income tax.

In contrast, his likely rival in the November general election, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, has so far only released an estimate of his 2011 taxes, indicating an effective tax rate of 15.4 percent on earnings mostly from investment income, and a payment of approximately $3.2 million in. Romney filed for an extension on Friday, as he has done in previous years. He and his wife Ann paid $3.4 million in estimated taxes on their joint return, but estimated that they will have only $32.2 million in tax liability for last year.

The Obamas reported donating $172,130—approximately 22 percent of their adjusted gross income—to 39 different charities. The largest donation was a $117,130 contribution to the Fisher House Foundation, a scholarship fund for the children of fallen and disabled soldiers. The President is donating the after-tax proceeds from his children’s book to the cause.

The Bidens also released their 2011 federal income tax returns, along with state income tax returns for both Delaware and Virginia. The couple filed joint federal and combined Delaware income tax returns. Jill Biden filed a separate non-resident tax return for the state of Virginia. Together, they reported adjusted gross income of $379,035. The Bidens paid $87,900 in total federal tax for 2011. They paid $13,843 in Delaware income tax and $3,614 in Virginia income tax. The Bidens contributed $5,540 to charity in 2011.

Obama has been pushing for the so-called “Buffett Rule” in recent months, named after billionaire Warren Buffett, under which millionaires and billionaires would need to pay a minimum tax rate of 30 percent.

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