Tax man cometh for Obamas, Bidens as well
President Obama and his wife, Michelle, released their 2008 federal tax return Wednesday, showing they paid $855,323 in federal income taxes on a combined household income of $2,656,902.
The New York Times
WASHINGTON — President Obama and his wife, Michelle, released their 2008 federal tax return Wednesday, showing they paid $855,323 in federal income taxes on a combined household income of $2,656,902.
The Obamas also reported giving $172,050 — nearly 6.5 percent of their earnings — to 37 charities, including $25,000 to CARE, a global anti-poverty group, and the United Negro College Fund.
The couple's federal tax deductions included about $50,000 in home mortgage interest. Their expenses also included $47,488 to send their two daughters to the University of Chicago's elementary school.
For the fourth year in a row, most of the Obamas' income came from royalties from his two books: "Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance" and "The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream."
Proceeds from book sales earned more than $2.4 million in 2008, dwarfing the roughly $200,000 the couple made from Obama's salary as a U.S. senator and Michelle Obama's at the University of Chicago Hospitals. Michelle Obama went on leave during the presidential campaign last year and formally resigned at the beginning of this year.
Earlier Wednesday, the deadline for Americans to file their income-tax returns, President Obama met with a group of people touted as ordinary taxpayers.
He made a sales pitch for his tax proposals, saying a tax cut in the stimulus bill would benefit "95 percent of American workers," and praised other changes that he said would help small-business owners, parents of college students and first-time homebuyers. He also called for a sweeping overhaul of the tax code.
The Obamas' tax filings — their federal tab was 32 percent of their adjusted gross income — suggest the ways in which they would be affected by the president's proposal to raise taxes on more affluent workers. Obama proposed putting a cap on the value of itemized deductions, such as charitable contributions, for example.
Moreover, his budget proposal would allow Bush-era tax cuts to expire as scheduled at the end of 2010, restoring the marginal tax rate on couples' earnings of more than $250,000 to 39 percent, as it was during the 1990s. That rate is now 35 percent.
The White House on Wednesday also released the tax return for Vice President Joseph Biden and his wife, Jill. They reported an adjusted gross income of $269,256 and paid $46,952 in federal income taxes.
The Bidens also reported donating $1,885 to charity, less than 1 percent of their earnings. In a news release, White House officials said the Bidens made additional donations to charity not listed on the returns.
"The charitable donations claimed by the Bidens on their tax returns are not the sum of their annual contributions to charity," it said. "They donate to their church, and they contribute to their favorite causes with their time, as well as their checkbooks."
The White House also released the Obamas' and the Bidens' state tax returns. The Obamas reported paying $77,883 in state income taxes to Illinois, and the Bidens reported paying $11,164 in state income taxes to Delaware.
Material from The Associated Press is included in this report.
Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company
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