Presidential (and wannabe) tax returns
Saturday, April 12, 2008
The U.S. tax filing deadline makes no exceptions, even (or perhaps, especially) for those who use the tax code as a campaign issue.
So far this filing season, the folks already occupying 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and the U.S. Naval Observatory grounds are the only ones that we know for sure have gotten their returns into the IRS.
On Friday, the president and vice president released their 2007 tax filing information.
Below are the very basics of the Bush and Cheney returns, along with data from the Democratic presidential candidates.
|Taxpayer||AGI||Tax owed||% of AGI|
|Clinton||$20 million||$5 million|
All the candidates itemized deductions, with the Bushes claiming $202,267. That amount, plus personal exemptions (reduced because of their income amount) resulted in taxable income of $719,274.
The largest deduction on the Dubya and Laura Bush Schedule A was for gifts to charity: $165,660.
You can peruse the complete return, including Laura's Schedule C reporting $150,000 she earned last year as an author, here.
Dick and Lynne Cheney's return (1040 only; no schedules attached) is available here. A few more filing details are offered in this press release from the vice president's office.
The actual return for Hillary and Bill Clinton is not yet available, as the couple has filed, for the fourth consecutive year, for an extension. The Democratic presidential candidate, however, did release rough filing numbers in this document.
Barack and Michelle Obama have not yet released their 2007 tax information, but you can see the couple's 2006 return here.
GOP Presidential candidate John McCain hasn't released his filing data either.
Past presidential returns: However, you can look at additional tax information from the other four politicians courtesy of the Tax Analysts' Tax History Project.
That special Web page also has links to tax returns for Bill (and Hillary) Clinton filed from 1992 through 1999.
Tax filings of other former presidents include those of Dubya's daddy (1986-1991), Ronald Reagan (1981-1987), Jimmy Carter (1977-1979), Richard Nixon (1969-1972) and FDR (1913-1937).
All presidents and presidential candidates are afforded the same privacy protection given any taxpayer. As Tax Analysts notes, "Indeed, the Internal Revenue Service is barred from releasing any taxpayer information whatsoever, except to authorized agencies and individuals."
However, since the early 1970s, most presidents have chosen to make their tax returns public.
Final filing tips: If, like Hill and Bill, you need more time, be sure to get Form 4868 into the IRS by Tuesday. I know you already know this, but I've got to say it again. The extension is just to file the tax forms, not an extension to pay any tax you might owe.
So if you do have a tax bill due, you'll need to come up with a good estimate of the amount and send it with your Form 4868. More details on filing an extension can be found in this story.
For you folks determined to get your return done by Tuesday, check out my other tax blog, Eye on the IRS, for some advice on making the most of this final tax weekend.
And remember: Filing this late in the season means that you're stimulus package rebate check isn't going to follow the expected delivery schedule (posted here).
You'll get your check after the IRS processes your return; the estimated due dates previously announced were based on returns that the tax agency had received early enough to process by April 15.
So go ahead and get your return in. Just don't get upset when your rebate check arrives a tad late.
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