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Obama’s taxes

By Kay Bell ·
Friday, April 16, 2010
Posted: 11 am ET

Take a deep breath. This is not news about more tax law changes. That will happen soon enough.

I just thought that you might want to see what the commander in chief reported to the IRS this year.

Everyone's tax return, including those of the U.S. president and vice president (yeah, we've got Biden's 1040, too) is private. The same privacy laws that protect our personal tax data from being broadcast to the world covers all public figures.

But for the last 40 years, most presidents have chosen to release at least some of their tax information. In election years, we also get 1040 tell-alls from the major candidates.

We got a look at the returns of Barack and Michele Obama returns during the campaign. Now it's time for the First Couple's first tax return since moving into the White House. Be patient; it's a PDF file and it's a big one -- 65 pages.

Regular return options: Like many of us, the president filed a Schedule C. That's where he reported his more than $5 million in business income, primarily from his book sales.

To help offset that income, the Obamas donated $329,100 to 40 different charities.

Speaking of charitable gifts, he also gave all his $1.4 million in Nobel Prize money to 10 nonprofits. He did so by having the Nobel Committee send the donations directly to those groups (they're listed in a letter, pages 39 to 42, attached to the Obama return).

Smart tax move. By having the Nobel folks donate the money directly to charity as instructed by the prize recipient, Obama didn't have to claim the money as income. Sure he would have gotten a deduction. But deductions don't erase all the taxable income and he would have been limited because of income thresholds.

The bottom line for the Obamas? On adjusted gross income of $5,505,409 the couple paid $1,792,414 in federal income tax.

They also are still legal residents of Illinois and paid $163,303 in state income taxes. Those details are on pages 55 through 64.

Veep 1040, too: Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill also released their 2009 returns.

Their filings were only 34 pages, but they were a bit more complicated because of multiple tax residences and the missus's income .

As a couple, the Bidens reported 2009 adjusted gross income of $333,182 and paid $71,147 in federal income taxes.

They also filed a joint Delaware tax return. Jill Biden, however, filed a separate nonresident return with Virginia tax officials.

All told on the state levels, the Bidens paid $12,420 in Delaware income taxes and $1,477 in Virginia income taxes.

If nothing else, perhaps the 1040s from the Obamas and Bidens will make you feel just a little better about your recently completed tax filing duties.

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April 16, 2010 at 1:08 pm

Dr. Jill Biden is not a physician. She has a PhD in English.