Obama’s 2006 Tax Return: $22,500 to Trinity U.C.C., Doesn’t Check Election Box

March 25, 2008

Barack Obama has released his 2006 tax return, largely as a political maneuver to highlight the fact that his opponent, Hillary Clinton, has yet to release her return. Tax returns are always fun to look at for tax geeks like us. In fact, because the federal tax code is involved in so many facets of our lives (housing, what car you drive, children, churches, etc.), one can find out a lot of information about a person by looking at his/her tax return. That’s also why many companies have sought out tax returns for marketing purposes.

Here are some highlights from Obama’s 2006 tax return:

Barack Obama gave $22,500 to Trinity United Church of Christ, which is the church that has stirred some controversy in recent weeks given the videos that have been released of its former pastor Jeremiah Wright

Overall, Obama and his wife gave to charity more than what is typical for a high-income tax return like theirs. Specifically, according to 2005 IRS statistics, those tax returns in the $500,000 – $1 million AGI range that itemize (like Obama) gave 1.3 percent of their AGI in charitable contributions. Obama gave 6.1 percent of his AGi in charitable contributions, which is nearly five times that of the typical person in his income class. Note that the definition of charity in the federal tax code is rather liberal. The Congressional Black Caucus is a “charity” that Obama donated to. (The Tax Foundation is even considered a charity, something we have actually written against.)

Obama had his entire $40,856 refund for 2006 applied to next year’s tax return (2007), meaning that Obama gave a rather hefty free loan to the federal government.

Obama did not check the Presidential Election campaign box, which is consistent with his likely rejection of accepting public financing if he becomes the Democratic nominee.

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