Tax day for POTUS
(photo credit) Aaron Cooper/CNN
April 13th, 2012
12:07 PM ET

Tax day for POTUS

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - President Obama and the first family saw their income drop by almost $1 million in 2011 as sales from his best-selling books slowed.

The Obama family, in tax returns released Friday by the White House, reported an adjusted gross income of $789,674 for 2011, down from $1,728,096 in the previous year. The family income topped $5.5 million in 2009.

The president earns a salary of $400,000 for his day job. His total earnings are much higher because his books - "Dreams From My Father," and "The Audacity of Hope" continue to attract buyers.

The Obamas reported paying $162,074 in federal taxes. They donated $172,130, or 22% of their income, to 39 different charities.

Obama is donating the proceeds from his latest book, "Of Thee I Sing," to a Fisher House scholarship fund for children of fallen and disabled soldiers. This year, the contribution was $117,130.

Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill reported income of $379,035, but gave only $5,540 - or 1.4% - to charity.

Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, noted in a statement that Obama's 2011 effective federal income tax rate is 20.5%, and that the president's own policies would result in higher taxes for the Obama family.

The release comes at the end of a week in which the Obama campaign made a concerted push for the so-called Buffett Rule, a tax law change that would force some of the richest Americans to pay more.

That proposal is expected to come up for a vote in the Senate next week, but has no chance of being approved by the Republican-controlled House.

That won't stop the White House from harping on the issue, which compliments the Obama campaign's efforts to portray Obama's Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, as out-of-touch, and very wealthy.

According to an already released estimate of Romney's 2011 taxes, the former governor of Massachusetts earned $21 million last year and will have a tax bill of $3.2 million.

Romney has also released his tax data for 2010. Combined, the returns show that Romney made $42.7 million over the past two years and paid $6.2 million in taxes.

That means Romney paid a much lower effective tax rate - around 14.5% - than the Obamas, while earning substantially more income.

Andrea Saul, a spokeswoman for Romney, said that the campaign will release the candidate's finalized 2011 return "when it is filed." She declined to say when that might be, but the final day to file taxes without an extension is Tuesday.

Democrats have called on the campaign to release returns from additional years, citing the precedent established by Romney's father George, who released 12 years of taxes when he ran for president in 1967.

The Obama campaign struck that chord again on Friday, openly speculating in a written statement about the secrets that Romney's returns might contain.

"What does he have to hide?" the statement asked. "Governor Romney may try once again to play by his own set of rules, but Americans will hold him accountable for trying to hide his record."

The rhetoric was not one-sided. Even before the release of Obama's returns, the Romney campaign accused the White House of creating a "distraction."

"It's no surprise with the worst job creation record in modern history that President Obama would try to distract Americans from the real issues with a series of sideshows," Saul said in a statement issued to CNN.

soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Sponge-Bob

    Which charities were they, young communists in need?

    April 13, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • jean2009

      I assume you donated to the American Nazi Party...right?

      April 13, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
      • Bill in STL

        Seriously jean??? that again? according to the Rev. Al Sharpton, a vote for Obama was a vote for socailism....

        April 14, 2012 at 1:59 am |
      • Howard


        SHOCKING ABC News on Obama/USA Infrastructure

        Diane Sawyer reporting on U.S. bridge projects going to the Chinese.... NOT Americans.

        The bridges are right here in the U.S. and yet Obama has approved for Chinese contractors to come in and do the work. What about jobs for Americans???

        Watch this video. It doesn't take long to view.

        This one should be tough for the supporters of the current regime to swallow....AND it comes from ABC Snopes or Wikileaks on this one!!

        The lead-in with Obama promising jobs in the U.S. by improving our infrastructure is so typical of all his promises! Our tax dollars are at work – for CHINA!!!

        I pray all the unemployed see this and cast their votes accordingly in 2012!

        April 14, 2012 at 11:43 am |
  2. Mike Lake Orion Michigan

    As Obama wages his class warfare campaign I would like to make something clear to him. He made $762,000 and paid 20.5 percent. My spouse and I had an adjusted income of $97,000 and I paid 25 percent. I'm not complaining but how is this fair? He wants to increase capital gains but the middle class American invests in the stock market. How does President Obama think by increasing the tax on capital gains will reduce the deficit without hurting the middle class? I'm dumbfounded!

    April 13, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • dead babies

      Oh you're found dumb alright. This is exactly what Obama is trying to change. Wtf told you he was just going to increase capital gains taxes? Get your facts straight, then you'll support Obama.

      April 13, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
  3. Bill in STL

    Hmmm from right here ... on CNN... from the money section....

    "The president's secretary pays a slightly higher rate this year than the president on her substantially lower income," White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage told CNNMoney

    Sound familiar????

    April 14, 2012 at 1:58 am |
  4. george of the jungle

    the president made less money than ol mitt will pay out in taxes this year, So much for the repos hollering about the Obamas being rich. Thes post have turned into president bashing by the repo far right. They must be running scared when they can't even have a real converstion. Maybe if ignored they will go back under their rocks . Obam 2012

    April 14, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • Steveo

      They made almost $800K last year. Do you seriously think that's all they have? Honestly, it is not my concern how much they have! Good for them for taking advantage and being prosperous! That is the American way. Now how about DC stop punishing the rest of us from pursuing prosperity too? You think having a real conversation is "repuke this and repos that"? There is name calling on both sides, George. I have NEVER seen you acknowledge and challenge the name calling from the left! Is that what you consider to be real conversation?

      April 14, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • Bill in STL

      So its a matter of degrees then George? Mitt makes more than Barack ... so MITT is bad and Barack is good? Does the same hold true for Warren Buffet, Bill Gates? are you that small minded?

      April 14, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • John

      Mitt earned his money in the private sector before entering office. BO, on the other hand, made his millions while he was an elected official.

      April 16, 2012 at 8:47 am |
  5. jerry

    Interesting...the man running against the French President, a socialist, proclaimed a couple of days ago that Germany should be forced to share her wealth and prosperity..sound like obama and his buffet tax hike... always this foolishness from the far far left...words to buy votes with nonsense.... the buffet tax would raise enough money to pay obamas 2011 deficit off in 250 years....obvious to anyone it is a fraud and a vote buy.

    April 14, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Steveo

      Easy to explain, Jerry. They are infatuated with the European model (gas prices, health care, etc, etc).

      April 14, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • Jake

      Please don't raise taxes on the rich. They need all the money they can get.

      April 16, 2012 at 11:25 am |
  6. SharinFax

    Does anyone out there understand that someone has already paid taxes on the capital that produced "capital gains"? There should be NO taxes on capital gains. Keep penalizing investors and producers and all you will have left is dependents and bureaucrats, (until the money runs out that is). Just take a good look at western europe.

    April 14, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
  7. ourjungle

    Obama....your joint income tax for year 2008 showed an income of about 2.5 million, and your joint income tax for year 2011 showed an income of about 789000...the question you have to ask your self is " I,am I better off today then before I became President??"....we are asking ourselves a similar question,and are getting a similar answer.

    April 15, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
  8. don

    Obama 2012 can't wait to read his new book. The guy can write. No ghost writter. Most name calling seems to be coming from the right steveo. At least thats what i am reading here and on other posts. And i think they have to declare all their income.

    April 16, 2012 at 3:30 pm |