Great Britain

Biden’s income fell by a third as he ran for president, tax returns show

Joe Biden forfeited more than a third of his annual income in running for the White House last year, with his newly disclosed 2020 tax returns showing a drop in earnings from almost $1m in 2019 to $607,336.

Joe Biden and the first lady, Jill Biden, released their 2020 joint tax returns on Monday. They show that the couple saw their income fall by some 38% from 2019, largely because Biden had to give up high-paying bookings on the speaker circuit when he launched his presidential campaign.

The Bidens paid $157,414 in federal income tax last year – a rate of 26%. In 2019 the balance sheet looked substantially more lucrative, with a combined income of $985,233 and total taxes of $299,346.

Details from the Bidens’ 2020 tax return were published by Bloomberg News shortly before the White House made the figures available.

Kamala Harris paid an even steeper price after she stood as Biden’s running mate in the presidential election and now as vice-president. Her 2020 joint tax returns with her husband, Doug Emhoff, record federal adjusted gross income of $1.7m last year.

That was dramatically down from $3.1m in 2019. Most of the reduction in earnings was accounted for by Emhoff’s relative fortunes.

The second gentleman took a leave from the law firm DLA Piper, where he was a partner, once Harris joined the Democratic presidential ticket last August. He left the firm altogether after the election in November.

The released tax returns show that Harris and Emhoff paid $621,893 in federal income tax in 2020, a tax rate of 37%.

The release of the president’s tax returns further increases the gulf in behavior with Biden’s predecessor in the White House. Donald Trump shattered tradition by refusing to make his tax returns public, while the current president has now released details on his financial affairs stretching back 23 years.

Before Monday’s disclosure, the White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that full transparency “should be expected by every president of the United States”.

The new documents show that the Bidens donated more than $30,000 to charity – about 5% of their total income. The organisation benefitting from their largesse was the Beau Biden Foundation, a group seeking to combat child abuse set up in honor of the their son who died in 2015 from the brain cancer glioblastoma.

Harris and Emhoff gave $27,000 to charity.

Despite the decline in their income, the Bidens are still in an elite tax bracket that mean they would be subject to the new top income tax rate of 39.6% under the president’s American Families Plan, unveiled last month. That rate would apply to the top 1% of Americans, who earn more than $540,000 a year.

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