Obamas’ tax rate rises as their income fell

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama watched their income fall and their federal tax rate go up in 2013, according to IRS returns released Friday by the White House.

In a joint filing, the couple reported an adjusted gross income of $481,098, down $127,500 from 2012. The Obamas have seen a steady drop in income during their White House years, largely a result of slowing book sales for the couple. Both have published best-sellers.

The Obamas paid $98,169 in federal taxes, down from $112,214 in 2012. But their effective tax rose from 18.4 percent in 2012 to 20.4 percent last year. In a blog post releasing the 42-page filing, the White House suggested the president was happy to hand over a higher share to the IRS.

Obama pushed for higher taxes on the wealthy and extended tax breaks for the middle class, a system that is “more fair,” White House spokesman Jay Carney wrote. “In 2013, as a result of his policies, the president was subject to limitations in tax preferences, as well as additional Medicare and investment income taxes, for high income earners.”

The lower income and bigger tax bite came with less money for charity this year. The Obamas donated $59,251 to 32 charities, or 12.3 percent of their adjusted gross income. Last year, they gave $150,034, or 24.6 percent of their adjusted gross income-to a similar list of charities. The recipients this year included Habitat for Humanity, the American Red Cross, St. John’s Church, an Episcopal church near the White House, and Sidwell Friends, the Obama daughters’ private school.

Obama’s government salary was $394,796. The first lady is not paid for her work. The additional income came from book sales. The Obamas received payments from publisher Random House and Dystel &Goderich Literary Management, for a total of $116,180 in other income. That total was less than half of what they reported from publishers in 2012.

The White House also released Vice President Joe Biden’s tax returns. Biden, who proudly styled himself as one of the least wealthy members of the Senate, and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, reported $407,009 in combined adjusted gross income, mostly from salaries. Other income sources include more than $19,000 rent collected for a carriage house on his property now used by the Secret Service.

The Bidens’ returns this year include a more significant contribution to charity than in previous years, $20,223. More than $15,000 of that went to the USO, as part of an arrangement in which proceeds from the sales of a book written by Dr. Biden went toward the organization.

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