Obama's Tax Rate Rose — And He Can't Blame Anyone But Himself | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

Obama's Tax Rate Rose — And He Can't Blame Anyone But Himself

President Obama, like many wealthy Americans, is paying more of his income to the IRS.

The White House released the president's tax return last week. It shows he and the first lady paid $98,169 in taxes for 2013 on income of $481,098. That's an effective tax rate of 20.4 percent.

In 2012, the Obamas paid just 18.4 percent of their income in taxes. The tax bite was bigger in 2013 because of the president's own policies, including a higher income tax rate for top earners, limits on tax breaks for the wealthy, and two new taxes on the rich that help to finance the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.

The top income tax rate — for individuals making more than $400,000 or couples making more than $450,000 — climbed to 39.6 percent as part of the fiscal cliff deal the president struck with Republicans last year.

People making more than $250,000 (or $300,000 for couples) also see a gradual decrease in tax deductions and the personal tax exemption as their incomes climb. Finally, the Obamacare taxes add an extra 3.8 percent levy on investment income and a 0.9 percent levy on ordinary income for individuals making more than $200,000 or couples making more $250,000.

The Tax Policy Center estimates that with these changes, the wealthiest 1 percent of taxpayers will now pay 27 percent of all federal taxes, while collecting about 15 percent of pretax income.

Citizens for Tax Justice — a group that advocates for a more progressive federal tax code — prefers a different measure that includes state and local taxes as well. Under that measure, the share of taxes paid by the wealthiest 1 percent, 23.7 percent, is not much different from their share of overall income.

While Obama's effective tax rate rose last year, his income shrank, mostly because of declining book sales. His adjusted gross income in 2013 was nearly $128,000 lower than the year before. The first family is entitled to a tax refund this year of more than $19,000. The Obamas asked to have that money applied to their 2014 tax bill.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Not My Job: Travel Guru Rick Steves Gets Quizzed On Steve Ricks

Since we specialize in asking people things they know nothing about, we've decided to ask Rick Steves three questions about the people out there in the world who have his name, but reversed.
NPR

Syrup Induces Pumpkin-Spiced Fever Dreams

Hugh Merwin, an editor at Grub Street, bought a 63-ounce jug of pumpkin spice syrup and put it in just about everything he ate for four days. As he tells NPR's Scott Simon, it did not go well.
NPR

Texas Gubernatorial Candidates Go The Border To Court Voters

Republicans have won every statewide office in Texas for 20 years, but the growing Hispanic population tends to vote Democrat, and the GOP's survival may depend on recruiting Hispanic supporters.
NPR

Tech Week: Smartphone Privacy, Cyberstalking, Alibaba's Big Debut

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba makes the biggest debut on the NYSE ever. The details, and the other tech stories that piqued our interest, are in this week's roundup.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.