Sizing up the tax returns of the presidential candidates

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Income tax information is generally private, but in the case of presidential candidates, it's not. Their invasion of privacy makes for hours of fun for those of us interested in how much money others make. Here's how the numbers shook out for 2007 tax returns:

John McCain:
Adjusted gross income $386,527
Charitable contributions $105,467
Federal income tax $118,660
Actual tax return here (large file).

Other interesting information: McCain gave $105,467 to charity, which was 27% of his income. He also made just over $110,000 from books he's written.

Barack Obama:

Adjusted gross income $4.14 million
Federal income tax $1.4 million
Actual tax return here (large file).

Other interesting information: Obama gave $240,370 to charity, which was a measly 5.8% of his income. $3.2 million of his income was from Random House, presumably for books by or about him. (Nice work, if you can get it.)

Hillary Clinton:
The actual numbers aren't available yet because the Clintons filed an extension, but their estimates include:
Income $22 million
Estimate document here.

The Clintons estimated their charitable contributions $3 million, 13.6% of income. The bulk of the income, $10 million, comes from paid speeches made by Bill Clinton.

Politics, books and speeches can be good gigs if you can get them, apparently. I'm not so sure I'd want the rest of the world in my financial business, though. On second thought ... if my income was $22 million, I wouldn't mind letting all of you take a peek. It would be a small price to pay.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.
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