President Barack Obama released his 2011 tax returns on Friday, revealing a notable drop in income compared to the previous year.
Obama and his wife Michelle reported adjusted gross income of $789,674 in 2011, compared to about $1.7 million in 2010 and about $5.5 million in 2009.
The White House noted that the president's salary accounted for about half of the first family's income, while the other half came from sales of Obama's books.
The Obamas paid $162,074 in taxes, reflecting an effective federal tax rate of 20.5 percent. In 2010, the Obamas paid an effective tax rate of just over 26 percent.
The returns showed that Barack and Michelle Obama donated $172,130, or about 22 percent of their adjusted gross income, to 39 different charities.
The charitable donations included an $117,130 contribution to the Fisher House Foundation, with Obama donating the after-tax proceeds from his children's book to the scholarship fund for children of fallen and disabled soldiers.
Following the release of the returns, Obama Campaign Manager Jim Messina released a statement questioning why presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney has not released his past tax returns.
"On the eve of April 17th, Governor Romney has yet to provide tax returns from the period in which he made hundreds of millions as a corporate buyout specialist, or as governor of Massachusetts, the experience he says qualifies him to be president," Messina said.
He added, "Mitt Romney's defiance of decades of precedent set by presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle, including his own father, begs the question -- what does he have to hide?"
Earlier this year, Romney released documents showing that he paid about 14 percent in taxes on earnings of more than $42 million over the past two years.
Romney's tax filings show the bulk of his income came from investments, which are taxed at a lower rate than earned income.
Over the past week, President Obama has been urging lawmakers to support the so-called "Buffett Rule," which calls for individuals earning more than $1 million a year to pay at least the same effective tax rate as middle class families.
The proposal is named for billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who has said that he pays a lower percentage in income taxes than his secretary.
The Senate is slated to vote on the "Buffett Rule" next Monday, but Republicans are preparing to block the legislation, claiming it will hurt small businesses and the economy.
by RTT Staff Writer
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