Monday, April 7, 2008

Taxes, taxes

So I finished my taxes early this year for a change, and it looked like I might not even have to look at a tax form in April. Then last week Hillary and Bill Clinton released their joint returns since 2000 with estimates for 2007. Barack and Michelle Obama had previously released their joint returns for 2000-2006. What better way to spend the weekend then going over someone else, all 188 pages for the Clintons and 103 pages for the Obamas.

Income (AGI):


The book royalties and speaking fees for the Clintons dwarfs what Barack earned for Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope. Indeed, assuming the Clintons have to give some or all of that up for Hillary to serve as President, this campaign could cost them $160 million. Maybe that’s why Hillary seems to get happier and happier on the campaign trail as Barack gets closer and closer to beating her. She’s the one who always cared about money.

Charitable contributions:

YearClinton% of AGIObama% of AGI

Clearly the Clintons are a little more generous than the Obamas. However, it’s not clear how much of the $10 million went to the William Jefferson Clinton Foundation or the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library. On the other side, it appears that after Obama hit the big time in 2004, David Axelrod took him aside and said, “Dude, we’re going to run you for President so you can at least make some gifts to charity.” It does seem that the Obamas’ gifts to Reverend’s Wright’s church were relatively modest.

Hillary claimed a home office deduction for 454 of 4,718 square feet in the $2,888,465 house they purchased in Washington, DC. Bill claimed a home office deduction for 575 of 5,300 square feet in the house they bought for $1,740,706 in Chappaqua, New York. Some would say these houses are mansions, but I would say you need 6,000 square feet to be considered that. In 2005, they stopped taking these deductions so I guess that means they stopped bringing work home. The Clintons also bought a condo unit in Chappaqua NY in 8/5/2003 for $505,346 and sold it on $3/16/2004 for $509,000. I know what you’re thinking but suspect that was for Hillary’s mother Dorothy Rodham.

The Obamas hired household help to take care of their two daughters, spending around $23,000 a year in 2002, 2003, and 2004 with the amounts dropping off after the youngest reached school age. Names of the nannies: Sonja Hawes, Marlease Bushnell, and Rosa Gutierrez. 2002 was last year the Clintons claimed Chelsea as dependent. After college and graduate school, Chelsea worked in management consulting and then went to work at a hedge fund, so it would be fun to see her tax return too. The Clintons also made some below market loans to one or more family members. It could have been Chelsea Clinton, but I’m guessing Roger Clinton. These seem to have been paid back or forgiven.

If you like the Clintons, Citibank is the place to bank. If you like the Obamas, it is JP Morgan Chase or Northern Trust Bank.

We'll see what happens after the Pennsylvania primary in two weeks.

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