Biden's tax return shows steep fall in income

  • Published
President Joe Biden and wife Jill en route to Wilmington, 15 May 2021Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden's income fell last year compared with 2019

Joe Biden has brought back a US presidential tradition by releasing his tax return, the White House said.

The filing shows he and his wife earned $607,336 (£430,000) last year and paid $157,414 in federal income tax.

Their income fell from 2019 when they earned $985,223 mostly from speeches, book sales and positions at higher education institutions.

Donald Trump refused to release his tax returns, the first president not to do so since the Watergate era.

Mr Trump claimed he was not able to do so as he was being audited by the Internal Revenue Service, the US government's tax-collection agency.

Ahead of the tax filing's release on Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said: "I would expect that we will continue to release the president's tax returns, as should be expected by every president of the United States."

Throwing down the gauntlet to Mr Trump ahead of the 2020 election, Mr Biden released 22 years of tax filings.

The document, released on Monday, shows that during the busy election campaign year the Bidens paid a federal income tax rate of 25.9%, the White House said.

They also donated $30,704 to 10 charities in 2020. The biggest sum of $10,000 went to the Beau Biden Foundation, which campaigns against child abuse and is named after the president's son, who died aged 46 in 2015 of brain cancer.

Joe and Jill Biden's previous tax returns have shown they donated $70,000 to charity in total over the two decades leading up to 2017.

The Bidens also have assets of between $1.2m and $2.88m, according to their financial disclosure form released on Monday.

During last year's presidential race, Mr Biden's campaign said he and his wife made $11m in 2017 and $4.6m the year after.

The couple's previous tax filings have shown how they were able to lower their tax bill by funnelling book and speech income through so-called S Corporations, thereby benefiting from a tax loophole that the Obama administration - in which Mr Biden served as vice-president - tried and failed to close.

Mr Biden's current salary as president is $400,000.

The Democratic president is proposing tax rises on Americans who earn more than $400,000 in order to help fund one of the biggest expansions of the welfare state in decades and a wide-ranging jobs plan.

US Vice-President Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff also released their joint tax return for 2020.

It showed they had reported a federal adjusted gross income of $1,695,225, said the White House.

The couple paid $621,893 in federal income tax, amounting to a 2020 effective federal income tax rate of 36.7%. They gave $27,006 to charity.

Ms Harris received an advance of $359,000 for her book, The Truths We Hold.

Before the election, Mr Emhoff was a partner in entertainment and intellectual property at multinational law firm DLA Piper.