President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama paid $112,214 in federal income taxes on adjusted gross income of $608,611 in 2012—for an effective rate of 18.4 percent. They also contributed $150,034 to 33 charities, or 24.6 percent. And they paid $29,450 in Illinois income tax.
The White House released the first couple's tax returns Friday, before the April 15 deadline to file to the IRS.
What about the Bidens? One interesting nugget from their tax return is that Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, gave $2,000 in clothes, furniture and exercise equipment to charity. So someone out there could be walking in the vice president's shoes. Literally.
The Obamas made less money than they did last year ($789,674) but also paid a lower effective federal income tax rate (it was 20.5 percent in 2011.)
Their largest charitable donation, $103,871, went to the Fisher House Foundation, which provides free or low-cost places to stay to veterans and military families getting care at military medical centers.
"The president believes we must reform our tax system which is why he has proposed policies like the Buffett Rule that would ask the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share while protecting families making under $250,000 from seeing their taxes go up," White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a blog post. "Under the President’s own tax proposals, including limitations on the value of tax preferences for high-income households, he would pay more in taxes while ensuring we cut taxes for the middle class and those trying to get in it."
The Buffett Rule is named for billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who says that he pays a lower effective federal income tax rate than his secretary does.
So what happens if you plug the Obamas' income into the Buffett Rule calculator the president's re-election campaign used to pound Mitt Romney last year? (Yup, it's still live.) It's disappointing. Put in the income, the fact that the Obamas' are married with kids, hit "calculate," and you get: "Tax rates at the salary you entered vary significantly based on the level and nature of investment income, as well as other factors."
The Bidens reported adjusted gross income of $385,072 and paid $87,851 in federal income tax for an effective rate of 22.8 percent. They gave $7,190 to charity. And they paid $13,531 in Delaware income tax and $3,593 in Virginia income tax.
What about those "noncash charitable contributions"? Clothing, boots, kitchenware, glassware, furniture and exercise equipment, bicycles, toys, glasses and pottery. All worth about $2,000.
On Twitter, someone suggested that the Bidens could actually generate more income for their chosen charities:
@oknox Bidens should ebay their merch & donate proceeds to Goodwill, etc. I would bid.
— Nick Poppy (@nockpippy) April 12, 2013
For those of you who don't speak the language: What if the Bidens auctioned their goods online and gave the proceeds to charity?