President Barack Obama’s long tenure on the best-seller list is paying off: He and his wife, Michelle, made $2.7 million last year, nearly all of it from his books.
They reported contributing $172,050 to charity last year, including $25,000 each to the CARE international relief agency and the United Negro College Fund. The $172,050 represented about 6.5 percent of the family’s adjusted gross income. That percentage is roughly two to three times the national average for household donations to charity, according to the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana U
While the income was far more than the U.S. median household income of about $50,000, it was far less than the $4.2 million the Obamas made in 2007.
In both years, nearly all of the income came from Obama’s best-selling books. “Dreams from My Father” and “The Audacity of Hope” brought in about $2.5 million in royalties last year, according to copies of the returns released by the White House on Wednesday, the federal income tax filing deadline.
Obama earned $139,204 as a Democratic senator from Illinois last year before leaving his seat following the November election. Michelle Obama received a salary of $62,709 from the University of Chicago Hospitals, where she was an executive.
The couple’s total federal tax came to $855,323. That was 32 percent of their adjusted gross income of $2,656,902.
The Obamas overpaid by $26,014 and elected to apply that amount to their 2009 taxes.
The couple’s federal tax deductions included about $50,000 in home mortgage interest. Their expenses also included $47,488 to send their two daughters to the University of Chicago’s elementary school.
The Obamas gave a total of $1,400 to five churches. In contrast to 2007, they gave nothing to the Trinity United Church of Christ. Barack Obama was a longtime member of the church, and gave it $26,270 in 2007, but resigned from it and cut ties with its pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, after Wright made incendiary comments that became a campaign issue.
The Obamas’ total Illinois income tax was $78,765, their state return showed.
The White House also released Vice President Joe Biden’s tax returns. Biden and his wife, Jill, earned $269,256 last year.
The Bidens’ main sources of income were salaries from the Senate, Widener University and Delaware Technical & Community College and royalties from the audio rights to the vice president’s memoir, “Promises to Keep.”
The Bidens paid $46,952 in federal income taxes and $11,164 in Delaware state income taxes. They donated $1,885 to charity.
“The charitable donations claimed by the Bidens on their tax returns are not the sum of their annual contributions to charity,” a White House statement said. “They donate to their church, and they contribute to their favorite causes with their time, as well as their checkbooks.”
Biden served in the Senate from 1973 until Jan. 15 of this year.