President Joe Biden released tax forms on Monday showing that he and his wife, Jill Biden, earned just over $600,000 in 2020. The release resumed a presidential tradition of disclosure broken by Donald Trump.
The Bidens paid an effective federal income tax rate of 25.9% after donating about 5% of their income to charity, the documents showed. Their total federal income tax bill was just over $157,000.
Trump declined to release his tax returns while a candidate and while president from 2017 through the start of this year, saying he was under audit. He fought efforts by prosecutors and congressional Democrats to obtain the returns. Documents obtained last year by The New York Times showed that Trump paid $750 in federal taxes in 2016, the year he won the presidency, after reporting heavy losses in his business empire to offset his income.
Previous presidents had released tax returns annually, dating back to Richard Nixon.
Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Douglas Emhoff, a lawyer, also released their 2020 tax forms on Monday. They earned nearly $1.7 million for the year and paid an effective federal income tax rate of 36.7%.
The disclosures came hours before the deadline for Americans to file their annual income tax returns without penalty. Federal officials had delayed that deadline by a month this year, citing the complications of the coronavirus pandemic.
Biden and Harris also released their personal financial disclosure forms, which are required under federal law.
Both the presidential and the vice-presidential households appear to fall safely in the top 1% of American income earners, based on statistics from the Internal Revenue Service. And both would face tax increases this year if Biden succeeds in pushing Congress to raise a variety of taxes on high earners, as he is proposing to help fund nearly $2 trillion in new spending and incentives meant to strengthen education, child care, paid leave and other social programs.
Much of the Bidens’ income came from pensions, including Biden’s government pension from his years as a senator and vice president. That disbursement will pause now that Biden has reentered the government, White House officials said. Jill Biden received nearly $300,000 in income — including income from business profits — from an S corporation controlled by the Bidens, which received money in 2020 from two publishing houses, Simon & Schuster and Flatiron. An S corporation is a small business designation that allows business income, credits and deductions to pass through to shareholders.
Harris’ and Emhoff’s income included nearly $350,000 for writing by Harris, who published a book, “The Truths We Hold: An American Journey,” in 2019.
White House officials took a slight jab at Trump in a news release announcing the disclosures. “Today, the president released his 2020 federal income tax return,” they wrote, “continuing an almost uninterrupted tradition.”