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Obama Taxes & Income: President & First Lady Paid $453,770 In Taxes On $1.7 Million Income

Obama Tax Returns Earning

TOM RAUM   04/18/11 09:19 PM ET   AP

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is making less money than he used to, though it's still a lot: He and wife Michelle reported income of $1.73 million last year, mostly from the books he's written, according to his just-filed tax return. That was down from the $5.5 million of a year earlier.

The president, who has been campaigning to raise taxes on the wealthy, paid the government $453,770 in federal taxes, about a quarter of the income. Just last week, he renewed his push to end Bush-era tax cuts for households with annual incomes above $250,000 – noting that that would include him.

The White House released tax returns for the Obamas and for Vice President Joe Biden and his wife on Monday, the deadline for Americans to file.

The president for the first time drew his full $400,000 salary in 2010, since in 2009 he didn't start drawing pay until after his inauguration in late January.

Through withholding and estimated tax payments during the year, the Obamas paid $466,104 to the Internal Revenue Service. That was an overpayment, so they are getting a $12,334 refund.

The first family's adjusted gross income for 2010 was $1.728 million. Their taxable income after deductions was $1.34 million.

The income for both years was mostly driven by royalties from books written earlier by Obama. They included his 1995 memoir "Dreams From My Father" and his 2006 political book, "The Audacity of Hope." Those were followed by a children's book last year, "Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters."

Obama is a former law school professor and U.S. senator. His book sales slacked off some from 2009, when they surged after his inauguration. But last year they still netted him nearly $1.4 million.

The president and first lady donated $245,075 – about 14.2 percent of their adjusted gross income – to 36 different charities. The largest was a contribution of $131,075 to the Fisher House Foundation, which provides humanitarian support to members of the United States Armed Forces and their families.

They also made a $15,000 contribution to the Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund and a $10,000 gift to the Boys and Girls Club of America.

Their contributions were below the $329,100 they gave to charities in 2009. That year, Obama also donated his entire $1.4 million Nobel Peace Prize award, which wasn't counted as income since it went directly to 10 charities.

Although the White House released the returns on the deadline day, Obama signed his 1040 form last Tuesday. Michelle Obama signed it last Wednesday.

The first family also released their Illinois income tax returns showing they paid $51,568 in state taxes.

On their federal return, the Obamas claimed itemized deductions of $78,269 for state and local taxes and $49,945 for home mortgage interest on their home in Chicago.

Vice President Biden and his wife, Jill, reported more modest earnings, a combined adjusted gross income of $379,178, on which they paid $86,626 in federal taxes for 2010.

Withholding from their salaries came to just $79,446 – so they had a tax bill of $7,180 to settle.

In all, the Obamas paid 26 percent of their adjusted gross income in federal income taxes. The Bidens paid 23 percent.

The Bidens paid $14,479 in Delaware income taxes and $3,515 in Virginia income taxes. Jill Biden is an adjunct professor at Northern Virginia Community College. The Bidens contributed $5,360 to charities.

Obama last week revived his campaign to attempt to end the Bush tax cuts of the early 1990s back to the levels of the 1990s, although he would leave them intact for joint fillers earning under $250,000 a year and individuals earning below $200,000.

The top income rate now is 35 percent. Recent studies show that the wealthiest Americans pay a lot less in taxes than they did two decades ago, and that about 45 percent of U.S. households pay no taxes because the nation's tax laws are packed with breaks for people at every income level.

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Associated Press writer Stephen Ohlemacher contributed to this report

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Filed by Elyse Siegel  |