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White House releases Biden’s tax returns in restoration of presidential tradition

AP

The White House released the 2020 tax returns for both President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on Monday, restoring a presidential tradition that had been ignored under former President Donald Trump.

The White House also released the first and second families’ financial public financial disclosure reports.

The Bidens filed their federal tax return jointly, reported a federal adjusted gross income of $607,336 and owed $157,414 in federal income tax, according to a summary of their taxes released by the White House. According to the first family’s 1040 form, they paid $162,063 and received a refund of $4,649. Their 2020 effective federal income tax rate is 25.9%.

The Bidens saw a significant drop in income in 2020 as then-candidate Joe Biden was on the campaign trail and not earning an income through speaking engagements or his post with the University of Pennsylvania. In 2019, the Bidens reported an adjusted gross income of about $985,000.

According to the federal tax return for Harris and second gentleman Douglas Emhoff, the couple reported $1,695,225 in adjusted gross income and owed $621,893 in tax. They had already paid $587,404 by the time they filed and had to pay the IRS the remaining $34,489.

In releasing the tax returns, the White House also took a dig at Trump.

“Today, the President released his 2020 federal income tax return, continuing an almost uninterrupted tradition,” The White House said. Trump never released his tax returns while in office.

Trump became the only major party presidential candidate in the post-Watergate era never to release any of his tax returns, claiming multiple times that he was not able to as he was being audited. According to the IRS, every president and vice president is guaranteed an audit every year since the Watergate era.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki appeared to give a veiled criticism of Biden’s predecessor, telling reporters that the White House expects to “continue to release the President’s tax returns as should be expected of all presidents.”

Monday is the official deadline to file 2020 federal tax returns. While the original filing and payment due date was April 15, the IRS pushed the deadline to May 17 to give individual filers, tax preparers and the IRS itself more time to sort through the many changes affecting one’s 2020 taxes from the latest Covid relief package.

Biden released his 2019 tax returns last September while running for president, which showed he and first lady Jill Biden paid nearly $300,000 in federal taxes in 2019 and had an adjusted gross income of about $985,000.

Financial disclosures also released

The Bidens held cash and investments of between $1.2 million and $2.88 million in 2020, according to their public financial disclosure report that was also released on Monday by the US Office of Government and Ethics.

The disclosure report shows little income on Joe Biden’s part, as he had spent the year campaigning for president. He did not report a source of nonfederal compensation exceeding $5,000 per the disclosure report.

He held two jobs out of government, one as president of an S-corporation set up to coordinate speaking and writing engagements — which he said will remain dormant and not engage in any business other than to collect royalties — and another as a professor for the University of Pennsylvania, a job from which he was on a leave of absence since announcing his run for president in 2019. He formally separated from the university in January before taking office.

First lady Jill Biden earned between $50,000 and $100,000 for speaking and writing engagements, according to the disclosure report. She also received a salary from her position as a professor at Northern Virginia Community College and took a cash distribution of $63,466 from two retirement plans in Delaware, neither of which has any remaining assets.

The Bidens’ form indicates they are in the process of divesting from a handful of assets, including Invesco VI Health Care, BNY Mellon IP Technology Growth and MFS VIT Utilities.

The first family had three active liabilities in 2020: an open-ended loan against cash values of policies incurred in 1983, a 10-year-term loan incurred in 2018 and a 30-year fixed rate mortgage for a personal residence incurred in 2013. Combined, their liabilities came to between $280,000 and $600,000.

Harris received a total of about $358,000 from her 2019 book, “The Truths We Hold,” according to her public financial disclosure. The form does not show her salary as a senator, which is exempted from the form.

Harris and Emhoff maintained between $316,000 and $665,000 in cash in their bank accounts during that period.

The couple maintained a large and diverse portfolio of stock and bond funds. Their last recorded trades on the form took place within the proceeding week that Biden announced Harris would be his vice presidential nominee in August 2020. They did not disclose whether they would divest any of their investments listed.

Given that the form records financial information from the preceding calendar year, Emhoff’s Georgetown Law teaching salary is not included in the form, nor are the profits from the April 2021 sale of Harris’ loft in San Francisco.

The couple had five active liabilities and two paid-off mortgages. The largest outstanding liabilities were two mortgages of between $1 million and $5 million each, labeled as being for “personal residence” with Wells Fargo. Both were incurred in 2020.

This story has been updated with additional reporting.

National Politics

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