NEW YORK (MainStreet) Before you click "send" to e-file your taxes or lick the stamp to mail them in, do a quick calculation: check your tax form and divide your "total taxes" by your "adjusted gross income" to determine your effective tax rate. For example, President Obama and the First Lady filed their joint return for 2013, paying $98,169 in federal taxes on $481,098 in income. That's an effective tax rate of 20.4%. Bet that's lower than yours.
According to the Tax Foundation, the average U.S. taxpayer has seen his tax burden rise from 29.8% to 31.3%, since 2005.
"That's mainly due to the expiration of the lower rate on payroll taxes at the start of 2013," says Andrew Lundeen, in a Tax Foundation report. "In the U.S., the top 10% of taxpayers earn 33.5% of the income, but pay 45.1% of the taxes."
But the President and First Lady reduced their tax burden with generous gifting, donating $59,251 or about 12.3% of their adjusted gross income to 32 different charities. The largest reported donation was $8,751 to the Fisher House Foundation.
But the President is less of a high income earner than any other year since taking office and has, in fact, seen his income fall to its lowest level in a decade. Obama's income has dropped from a peak of $5.5 million in 2009, and he is making the least amount of money since 2004.