NEW YORK (MainStreet) — For those still reeling from their tax bills this year, you can at least take heart in knowing that U.S. presidents also sometimes need to fork over money to Uncle Sam, and usually their bills are much higher than ours.
President Obama and his wife had a gross adjusted income of $1.8 million in 2010, and paid just more than $450,000 in total taxes, certainly no small amount. But during the first year of President Obama’s presidency it was even bigger: The couple reported $5.5 million in gross adjusted income in 2009 and paid $1.8 million in taxes, thanks largely to the hugely successful sales of President Obama’s two bestselling books.
Even with inflation factored in, this kind of tax receipt puts Obama well ahead of his predecessors in terms of reported income and paid taxes in the first year on the job. Ronald Reagan, for example, reported $412,730 in total earnings in 1981, which in 2010 dollars would be just more than $990,000. But while he earned less than the current president, Reagan ended up paying a significantly larger portion of his income in taxes (a problem he remedied shortly after with a series of tax cuts he implemented.)
MainStreet analyzed public tax records for each of the previous six presidents, as collected by the nonprofit group Tax Analysts, and compared the total income and payments for each in their first year living in the White House.
2009 Adjusted gross income: $5,505,409
Total tax payment: $1,800,701
Tax rate: 32.7%
George W. Bush
2001 Adjusted gross income: $811,100
Total tax payment: $246,172
Tax rate: 30.4%
1993 Adjusted gross income: $293,757
Total tax payment: $70,652
Tax rate: 24.1%
George H. W. Bush
1989 Adjusted gross income: $456,780
Total tax payment: $98,154
Tax rate: 21.5%
1981 Adjusted gross income: $412,730
Total tax payment: $165,205
Tax rate: 40%