WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama made nearly $2.5 million (1.6 million pounds) in 2008 from the sales of his two best-selling memoirs, according to tax information released by the White House on Wednesday.
Obama jointly filed his 2008 federal income tax return with his wife Michelle, reporting an adjusted gross income of $2,656,902 and paying $855,323 in federal income tax and $77,883 in state income taxes, the White House said.
Obama’s books, “Dreams From My Father” and “The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream”, were New York Times best-sellers and have sold hundreds of thousands of copies in the United States and around the world.
Obama earned $2,479,648 from the sales of his books in 2008, according to the tax return, when as a U.S. senator from Illinois he campaigned to become the 44th president of the United States.
The president and first lady also reported donating $172,050 — or 6.5 percent of their adjusted gross income — to 37 charities. The largest reported donations were $25,000 gifts to CARE, an anti-poverty group, and the United Negro College Fund.
The White House also released tax information for Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill, who reported an adjusted gross income of $269,256 and an after-tax income of $183,315. The figures included royalties from the vice president’s memoir “Promises to Keep”.
The 2008 tax returns of the president and the vice president were released on a day when millions of U.S. taxpayers faced the dreaded April 15 deadline to submit their federal returns or suffer penalties for late submissions.
Obama promised Americans on Wednesday to reform what he called the “monstrous” U.S. tax system, saying it was far too complicated for most to understand.
Obama’s attempts to form his Cabinet after being sworn into office on January 20 were bedevilled by some of his nominees’ tax problems.
First his Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and then his Health Secretary nominee Tom Daschle admitted late payment of some income taxes. Daschle later withdrew his nomination, but the new nominee, Kathleen Sebelius, governor of Kansas, has also had to settle tax errors.
Reporting by Ross Colvin; editing by Mohammad Zargham