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Tax Returns

Here's how much the Obamas paid in tax last year (and how much they gave to charity)

The couple paid an effective income tax rate of 20.4 per cent.

US PRESIDENT BARACK Obama and Michelle Obama paid $98,169 in taxes on $481,098 income last year, tax returns the White House released today show.

The figure is the approximate equivalent of paying €70,693 in tax on an income of €346,450.

They paid an effective income tax rate of 20.4 per cent and donated significantly less to charity than they did the year before.

The 42-page document, which included the couple’s Illinois state income tax return as well as their federal return, shows the Obamas reported donating $59,251 to 32 charities, which helped lower their overall tax bill. The nearly $60,000 in donations represents 12.3 per cent of their adjusted gross income.

But their charitable giving was down sharply from 2012, when the president and first lady reported giving away $150,034.

Their largest charitable gift last year, $8,751, went to the Fisher House Foundation, which supports military families. The Obamas gave the foundation $103,871 in 2012.

The joint tax returns, which the Obamas signed on Tuesday, were posted on the White House website on Friday, four days before the April 15 income tax filing deadline.

Income from the sale of Obama’s best-selling books also declined significantly since 2012.

Obama received $31,139 from Random House and $85,041 from Dystel & Goderich Literary Management, for a total of $116,180 in book sales. That combined total compares with $273,739 in similar payments he received in 2012. There was a big drop in the amount from Random House, which paid Obama $162,789 in 2012.

Overall, the Obamas had total tax payments of $117,277. They were entitled to a refund of $19,108, but applied it toward their 2014 tax bill instead of pocketing the money.

They also paid an extra $9,513 in alternative minimum tax.


Obama’s annual salary as president is $400,000, which was the main source of the family’s income last year.

Itemised deductions totaling $147,769 helped reduce the Obamas’ taxable income. Along with their charitable contributions, the Obamas deducted $42,383 in mortgage interest on the home they own in Chicago.

Among the Obamas’ other notable charitable contributions were $5,000 to the Sidwell Friends School, the exclusive private school where daughters Malia and Sasha are enrolled, $4,000 to the American Red Cross and $2,000 to One Fund Boston, which was created last year to aid victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.

The Obamas’ Illinois income tax return showed them paying $23,328 in income taxes to their home state.

Vice President

The White House also released tax returns for Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill.

The Bidens paid $96,378 in federal taxes last year on adjusted gross income of $407,009. They paid an effective federal income tax rate of 23.7 per cent, according to the returns, which were filed jointly and also posted on the White House website on Friday.

The Bidens paid $16,444 in taxes to their home state of Delaware.

Jill Biden also paid $3,470 in income tax to Virginia from her work as a professor at Northern Virginia Community College.

The Bidens donated $20,523 to seven charities last year, which was about one-third of the money the Obamas gave away. The bulk of the Bidens’ charitable donations, $15,300 in royalties from a children’s book written by Jill Biden, was donated to the USO, a military service organisation.

Read: So just what was the effective rate of tax for corporations in the lats decade? > 

Read: Hands up – Department of Finance to adjust figures after mixing up €101 million of VAT with income tax > 

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