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Joe Biden Releases Tax Returns in Thinly-Veiled Rebuke of Trump: 'Almost Uninterrupted Tradition'

·4-min read

Chris Kleponis/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Joe Biden

More than six months into his term as president of the United States, Joe Biden continues to differentiate himself from Donald Trump, releasing his taxes on Monday in a departure from the practice of the previous administration.

"Today, the President released his 2020 federal income tax return, continuing an almost uninterrupted tradition," the White House said in a thinly-veiled allusion to Trump, who never released his taxes during his four years in office.

According to the filings released Monday, Joe and Dr. Jill Biden jointly earned $607,336 in 2020, and owed $157,414 — or 26% of their income — in federal income tax.

The couple gave $30,704 to 10 different charities, the largest reported gift of which was $10,000 to the Beau Biden Foundation, a public charity dedicated to protecting children from abuse. The foundation was created to honor the life of Joe Biden's son, who died in 2015 of brain cancer at the age of 46.

As NPR reports, the couple's combined income for 2020 — a year spent mostly on the campaign trail — was much lower than in 2019, when they reported an adjusted gross income of approximately $985,000.

According to the White House, Biden has made a total of 23 years of tax returns public over the years.

The financial records of Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, were released on Monday, as well.

According to the White House, Harris and Emhoff reported federal adjusted gross income of $1,695,225 and paid $621,893 in federal income tax. They additionally paid $125,004 in California income tax, while Emhoff paid $56,997 in District of Columbia income tax.

Emhoff and Harris contributed $27,006 to charity in 2020.

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Trump avoided publicly releasing his taxes both before and during his time in office, citing an ongoing audit by the IRS. He was the first president in decades not to release such records.

The New York Times in September published the first of several articles analyzing some of Trump's leaked tax information, the reporting of which the former president dismissed as "totally fake news."

According to the exposé, the self-proclaimed billionaire paid a total of $750 in federal income taxes in both 2016 and 2017 thanks to a nearly $10 million tax credit partially connected to a hotel project in Washington, D.C.

The Times report analyzed 18 years' worth of tax returns for Trump and his businesses going back to 2000, finding that he paid zero income taxes in 10 of those years. According to the paper, it was "largely because he reported losing much more money than he made."

The report did not cover Trump's 2018 and 2019 tax filings.

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Biden's decision to release his taxes is the latest aspect of how he has differentiated his administration from Trump's.

Immediately upon taking office, Biden signed more than a dozen executive orders, many of them reversing controversial policies instated by his predecessor, in his first few hours on the job.

In a largely ceremonial action, Biden also signed a proclamation for January 20, 2021, to be officially known as "a National Day of Unity," calling on the American people to "join together and write the next story of our democracy — an American story of decency and dignity, of love and of healing, and of greatness and of goodness."

Even while campaigning, Biden framed his goals as a marked contrast from Trump's often divisive rhetoric and policies.

Shortly after taking office, the president offered a message to his incoming staffers, saying his administration would be judged by how well it "restores the integrity and competency in this government."

In a press conference on Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the administration would most likely continue to release Biden's tax returns each year he is in office.

"I would expect that we will continue to release the president's tax returns," Psaki said, "as should be expected by every president of the United States."

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