Amid an aggressive campaign on what he calls "tax fairness," President Obama's own tax burden in 2011 was the lowest of his time in the White House.

The president and first lady reported a joint adjusted gross income of $789,674 last year and paid $162,074 in total federal taxes, or about 20.5%.

The Obamas' income was about $1 million less than what they reported in 2010, owing to less income from proceeds of the president's books. With a lower share of income taxed at the higher rate, his tax burden dropped from past years. In 2010 he paid about 26% of his adjusted gross income in federal taxes. The previous two years his burden was more than 32%.

DOCUMENT: The Obamas' complete 2011 tax return

DOCUMENT: The Bidens' complete 2011 tax return

Tax documents also show that the president paid $31,941 in state income tax in Illinois, or about 4%.

The Obamas also donated $172,130 to charity, or about 22% of their adjusted gross income. The largest beneficiary was the Fisher House Foundation, which received $117,130 – the after-tax proceeds of his children's book, "Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters."

As it released the First Family's full tax returns, which it has done at the same time each year they have been in the White House, the White House made note of the administration's push for the so-called Buffett Rule that would seek to ensure the tax rate of the wealthiest Americans is at least as much as the middle class.

Spokesman Jay Carney noted that under the president's own plan, he himself "would pay more in taxes while ensuring we cut taxes for the middle class and those trying to get in it."

Just after the 2011 returns were posted by the White House, the Obama campaign issued a statement calling on Mitt Romney to reveal his tax burden.

The campaign also made public via a website both Obama's and Biden's tax returns going back to the year 2000.

"Governor Romney has yet to provide tax returns from the period in which he made hundreds of millions as a corporate buyout specialist, or as governor of Massachusetts, the experience he says qualifies him to be president," Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said in a statement. "Mitt Romney's defiance of decades of precedent set by presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle, including his own father, begs the question – what does he have to hide?"

Romney spokesman Andrea Saul described the Obama campaign complaint as a “sideshow” and a distraction from the issues important to voters.  Romney already has released his 2010 return and an estimate of 2011 taxes, she said. "He will release his full 2011 return when it is filed."

Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, reported an adjusted gross income of $379,035, and paid $87,900 in federal tax. The Bidens' tax burden, at 23%, is higher than the Obamas' even though they had less income. They donated just $5,540 to charity.

michael.memoli@latimes.com
twitter.com/mikememoli

 

Original source: Obama's federal tax burden drops as book revenues dip