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U.S. President Barack Obama paid an effective federal tax rate of 18.4 percent in 2012, down a bit from the year before, when he earned more money.

The President and Michelle Obama reported adjusted gross income of $608,611 last year, a drop from $789,674 in 2011, and paid $112,214 in total taxes.

That came out to an effective 18.4 percent rate, compared to $162,074 in taxes paid, or 22 percent of their $844,585 income the previous year.

Barack Obama on January 20
Photo via Biden Inaugural Committee via Getty Images

Times are tough for book sales!


The Obamas’ income consists of his salary as President and royalties from his two books, which have fallen greatly from his pre-White House days.

He reported earnings in the seven figures as recently as 2009.

Last year, Barack and Michelle Obama reported giving $150,034 to various charities, representing roughly 25 percent of their adjusted gross income.

Their largest gift was $103,871 to the Fisher House Foundation, an organization that provides housing for military families near military hospitals.

In addition encouraging healthy lifestyles among youth, Michelle Obama has made supporting the military one of her top public causes as first lady.

Meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, reported adjusted gross income of $385,072 and paid $87,851 in total federal taxes last year. 

Obama has pressed for wealthy people such as himself to pay a greater share in income taxes, and made this a major issue during the 2012 election.

GOP opponent Mitt Romney, a wealthy former private equity exec who had an effective tax rate of 14.1 in 2011, became a campaign poster boy.

Effective tax rates will vary wildly from one taxpayer to another because of the many tax breaks available, but average just 11.8 percent nationally.

Of course, this figure is also skewed.

In 2011, research shows that 46 percent of Americans paid no federal income tax at all, most of them because they were poor, elderly or unemployed.

This places a disproportionate burden on earners, conservatives argue in opposition to Obama’s proposal, saying they are taxed enough as it is.

Incidentally, in 2012, the Obamas overpaid their taxes, entitling them to a refund of $16,815. They chose to apply that total to their 2013 estimated tax. 

Smart accounting.