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2021 Tax Returns of Biden and Harris Similar to Returns Filed Last Year

Ruth Singleton
Published Date:
Apr 19, 2022

White House

The White House has released the 2021 tax federal income tax returns for President Joe and Dr. Jill Biden, as well as Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, CPA Practice Advisor reported. Both were similar to the returns they filed last year for 2020. 

The joint return for the Bidens indicate that the couple reported a federal adjusted gross income of $610,702 last year and that they paid $150,439  in federal income taxes, for an effective rate of 24.6 percent, according to Politico. They itemized deductions and claimed charitable donations of  $17,394, equal to approximately 2.85 percent of their income. The Bidens did not receive a tax refund, owing $1,752 on their return. 

In comparison, the first couple reported income of slightly more than $607,000 with a tax liability above $154,000 on their 2020 return, Biden’s first year in office as president, according to CPA Practice Advisor. Those numbers are similar to those for their 2021 return. 

According to Politico, most of their earnings came from his presidential salary, which, at $378,333, was reduced from the customary $400,000 to account for him coming into office on Jan. 20 of in 2021. They also reported about $67,000 from Jill Biden teaching at Northern Virginia Community College. An additional $62,000 came from royalties from books published before Biden's administration began. The couple also reported $53,000 in pension benefits, owed from President Biden’s previous service in Congress, and $46,000 in Social Security benefits. 

The Bidens donated to 10 organizations, with the most — $5,000 — going to the Beau Biden Foundation, named after their son. They also gave to the Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Westminster Presbyterian Church and St. Joseph on the Brandywine, among others. 

According to CPA Practice Advisor, Harris and Emhoff earned more than $1.6 million in 2021 and paid more than $523,000 in federal income tax, for an effective tax rate of 31.6 percent. About $319,000 of their income came from the sale of Harris' San Francisco condominum. In addition, she  reported $52,000 in income from writing activities. Harris and Emhoff itemized deductions; their charitable contributions totaled $22,100, including gifts made to their respective alma maters. 

As with the Bidens’ return, the second couple’s 2021 return was roughly in line with their 2020 return. In that year, they reported an adjusted gross income of roughly  $1.7 million and tax payments above $621,000. 

The release of these returns signals a continuation of what had been a decades-old tradition of presidents voluntarily releasing their tax returns. That tradition was broken by former President Donald Trump, who claimed he was under audit by the IRS. The White House noted that Biden, a former vice president and senator, has shared his tax returns with the public for 24 years, while Harris, a former senator, California attorney general and San Francisco district attorney, has released her returns for the past 18 years.

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