President Obama reveals 2011 tax return

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- President Obama and the first family saw their income drop by almost $1 million in 2011 as sales from his best-selling books slowed.

The Obama family, in tax returns released Friday by the White House, reported an adjusted gross income of $789,674 for 2011, down from $1,728,096 in the previous year. The family income topped $5.5 million in 2009.

The president earns a salary of $400,000 for his day job. His total earnings are much higher because his books -- "Dreams From My Father," and "The Audacity of Hope" continue to attract buyers.

The Obamas reported paying $162,074 in federal taxes. They donated $172,130, or 22% of their income, to 39 different charities.

Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, noted in a statement that Obama's 2011 effective federal income tax rate is 20.5%, and that the president's own policies would result in higher taxes for the Obama family.

The release comes at the end of a week in which the Obama campaign made a concerted push for the so-called Buffett Rule, a tax law change that would force some of the richest Americans to pay more.

That proposal is expected to come up for a vote in the Senate next week, but has no chance of being approved by the Republican-controlled House.

That won't stop the White House from harping on the issue, which compliments the Obama campaign's efforts to portray Obama's Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, as out-of-touch, and very wealthy.

According to an already released estimate of Romney's 2011 taxes, the former governor of Massachusetts earned $21 million last year and will have a tax bill of $3.2 million.

That means Romney paid a much lower effective tax rate than the Obamas, while earning substantially more income. Andrea Saul, a spokeswoman for Romney, said that the campaign will release the candidate's finalized 2011 return "when it is filed."

Romney has released tax data from only two years: 2010 and 2011. Democrats have called on the campaign to release returns from additional years, citing the precedent established by Romney's father George, who released 12 years of taxes when he ran for president in 1967.

 
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