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Biden releases 2019 tax returns hours before first presidential debate

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), released their 2019 federal and state tax returns on Tuesday, hours before the former vice president meets face-to-face with President Trump in the first debate of the 2020 presidential race.

The release comes days after a bombshell New York Times investigation showed that Trump paid just $750 in federal income tax in both 2016 and 2017 and paid no taxes in 10 of the 15 previous years. The newspaper detailed questionable tactics that the president reportedly used to lower his tax bill over multiple years.

Biden and his wife reported an adjusted gross income of $985,233 and paid a total of $299,346 in taxes, for an effective tax rate of about 30 percent.

The former vice president’s income in 2019, when he spent most of the year as a presidential candidate, was substantially less than it was in 2017 and 2018. He and his wife reported adjusted gross income of more than $11 million for 2017 and nearly $4.6 million for 2018.

The Bidens collected income from several sources, including the University of Pennsylvania, Northern Virginia Community College and S-corporations that the couple uses for their speaking and writing engagements.

The couple reported $14,700 in charitable contributions.

Harris and her husband, lawyer Doug Emhoff, reported an adjusted gross income of $3,095,590 in 2019 and owed taxes of $1,185,628, giving them an effective tax rate of about 38 percent.

Together, Harris and Emhoff reported $35,390 in charitable donations for the year, their tax returns show.

With the latest disclosure on Tuesday, Biden has now released tax returns covering the past 22 years, while Harris has released 16 years of tax returns.

Their decision to release their 2019 tax returns came just before Biden prepares to take the stage in Cleveland for his first debate against Trump.

Speaking to reporters on a conference call on Tuesday, Kate Bedingfield, Biden’s deputy campaign manager and communications director, cast the move as one intended to contrast Biden’s “honesty and transparency” with Trump’s years-long refusal to make his own tax returns public.

“Look, Trump’s tax returns and what we learned from that reporting I think reinforces what we already knew about Donald Trump, which is that he looks down on working people,” Bedingfield said.

“It reinforces how much of a choice there is in this campaign between Scranton and Park Avenue,” she added, referencing a line that Biden has used frequently in the days leading up to the debate.

Updated at 1:45 p.m.

Tags 2020 election Debate Donald Trump Joe Biden Kamala Harris Presidential Debate Tax returns

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