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Joe Biden releases his tax returns hours before the first presidential debate

Harriet Alexander
·2-min read
Biden
Biden

Joe Biden's tax returns were published on Tuesday, hours before the first presidential debate - in which Donald Trump's failure to pay federal taxes will loom large.

Mr Biden, 77, paid nearly $300,000 in federal taxes for 2019.

He and his wife, Jill, a teacher, reported receiving $985,233 in adjusted gross income for the year.

Until Mr Trump's presidency, it was routine for presidents and candidates to disclose their tax returns annually - but the New York billionaire argued that he was being audited, and that prevented the release of his returns. The tax authorities disputed this, but the story held.

On Sunday the New York Times obtained his federal returns, which the paper said showed that in 2016 and 2017 he only paid $750.

He avoided federal income taxes entirely for 10 of the last 15 years, the report claims.

Mr Trump called the report "fake news". 

On Monday night Bill de Blasio, mayor of New York, said he was launching an investigation through the city's finance department to see whether the president had "cheated" his hometown out of millions of dollars.

Mr Biden’s campaign said the latest release means he has now released 22 years of tax records, covering years when he served in the Senate representing Delaware, as vice president and his time after he left the Obama administration.

“This is a historic level of transparency meant to give the American people faith once again that their leaders will look out for them and not their own bottom line,” said Kate Bedingfield, Mr Biden’s deputy campaign manager.

Mr Biden’s campaign said his running mate, Kamala Harris, was also releasing her 2019 tax returns, filed jointly with her husband Doug Emhoff, a lawyer who has taken leave from his position as a partner with the firm DLA Piper.

The Bidens reported receiving income from several sources, including Northern Virginia Community College, where Dr Biden has worked as an English professor, and the University of Pennsylvania, where Mr Biden established a center for diplomacy after the end of the Obama administration.

Mr Biden also receives a federal pension.

They reported making $14,700 in charitable contributions, including donations to a Presbyterian church and a Catholic church in Delaware.

Ms Harris and Mr Emhoff reported receiving $3.1 million in adjusted gross income and paid more than $1 million in federal taxes.

Their income included about $265,000 from her writing work, but the bulk of the couple’s money came from Mr Emhoff’s law-firm income.

Vice President Mike Pence released tax returns through 2015 during the 2016 campaign but hasn’t released any since.

Last year, Mr Pence’s office said he would disclose them before the 2020 election if they were no longer under audit.

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