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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 4/16/19

Sanders Releases 10 Years of Tax Returns Nine Months Before Caucuses, Primaries Begin

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Voluntary disclosure follows nearly 30 years of annual financial disclosures; Vermont senator urges President Trump to follow suit

Bernie Sanders Releases 10 Years Of Tax Returns
Bernie Sanders Releases 10 Years Of Tax Returns
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U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders today released 10 years of tax returns including his 2018 return. The release, nine months before the first votes are cast, recognizes the changing expectations that all candidates, not just nominees, should release their taxes.

The Sanders' tax returns, which are straightforward and uncomplicated with few additional forms or deductions, are in addition to the financial disclosures that Sanders has released every year since 1991.

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"These tax returns show that our family has been fortunate. I am very grateful for that, as I grew up in a family that lived paycheck to paycheck and I know the stress of economic insecurity. That is why I strive every day to ensure every American has the basic necessities of life, including a livable wage, decent housing, health care and retirement security." Sanders said. "I consider paying more in taxes as my income rose to be both an obligation and an investment in our country. I will continue to fight to make our tax system more progressive so that our country has the resources to guarantee the American Dream to all people."

During his 2016 campaign, Sanders released what was then his most recent tax return (2014), and promised to release additional years if he were the nominee as was standard practice at the time.

"Bernie Sanders has been filing detailed financial disclosures for almost 30 years, and he is proud to voluntarily make these tax returns available many months before the election," said campaign manager Faiz Shakir. "Senator Sanders believes it is a privilege to live in the United States and he believes it is patriotic to pay the taxes that support our country. As a strong proponent of transparency, the senator hopes President Trump and all Democratic primary candidates will disclose their tax returns."

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Some key details from Sanders' tax returns include:

  • In 2018, Sanders' adjusted gross income was $561,293. He paid a 26 percent effective tax rate on that adjusted gross income. In 2016 and 2017, when Sanders also earned significant income from his books, his effective tax rate was 35 percent and 30 percent, respectively. Their itemized deductions primarily consisted of mortgage interest, property taxes and charitable deductions.
  • The returns reflect that the Sanders' primary sources of income over most of those years were Senator Sanders' Senate salary and proceeds from his writing.

  • In 2016, the Sanders' income increased substantially due to advances and royalties from his best-selling book Our Revolution: A Future To Believe In, which has been translated into five languages and published in a number of countries. The youth version of Our Revolution, the publication of Where We Go From Here and an advance on a book currently being written by Jane Sanders, are also reflected in the tax filings.

  • In 2018, the Sanders donated 3.4 percent of their adjusted gross income to charity. Overall, their charitable giving does not account for additional charitable proceeds from one of Sanders' books, The Speech, which are donated directly to charity. The Sanders do not take a tax deduction for those contributions, so they do not show up on their tax returns. The Sanders' donations have gone primarily to senior centers, low-income organizations, educational entities, and environmental and housing advocacy groups.

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