Does President Joe Biden Really Owe Back Taxes? White House Responds

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Oct. 6 2021, Published 11:54 a.m. ET

We know that former President Donald Trump paid $750 in federal income tax in 2016 and 2017. That's more than many other years, when he paid nothing. This has to do with tax avoidance strategies, increasing investment losses, and debt. Currently, reports of President Joe Biden owing back taxes are coming to the surface.

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Does Biden really owe back taxes? Here's the scoop on the Democrat who has proposed raising taxes for the rich.

What the stories say about Biden's back taxes

On platforms like Fox News and New York Post, writers are reporting that Biden might owe as much as $500,000 in back taxes. Citing a supposed report from the CRS (Congressional Research Service), a nonpartisan institution, the report suggests that Biden incorrectly used S corporations to skirt taxes for speaking fees and book sales.

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Reportedly, he and First Lady Jill Biden made $13 million in 2017 from speaking fees and book sales, but only reported $800,000 as a Medicare-taxable salary.

The White House responds to the rumors

According to a White House statement, "The salaries earned by the Bidens are reasonable and were determined in good faith, considering the nature of the entities and the services they performed."

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Who's claiming that Biden owes taxes?

The sources reporting on the potential back taxes story are right-wing sites like Fox News or journalistically disinclined sites like New York Post and DailyMail. Meanwhile, the report itself claims to come from the CRS.

However, CRS publishes all of its reports on its website. There isn't a report about Biden's back taxes listed, which means there's no way for Republicans who've spread the news about Biden's potential back taxes to prove themselves. (Of course, that also means there's no way to disprove it as of yet, which means disinformation will spread.)

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The stories about Biden's owed taxes were published beginning on Sept. 23. No reports about Biden's taxes were published on the CRS database before or after that date.

The possible reality of Biden's tax situation

Right now, Biden's reported tax avoidance is just that—reported. It's a fair move to debunk it for now considering that there isn't a report to go off of. Some journalism platforms are comfortable sharing the information with no reputable source other than disgruntled opponents of the administration's party.

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Biden to clamp down on tax avoidance

Through various strategies, Biden plans to clamp down on back taxes in the U.S. in 2022. He has reserved funds for the IRS to spend tracking down cryptocurrency capital gains. He wants to target billionaires, corporations, and other wealthy individuals and institutions likely to practice tax avoidance strategies. Biden wants to close the gap in the U.S. budget. Meanwhile, he has proposed higher taxes for rich people and companies.

In order to factualize reports about Biden's back taxes, platforms would need to cite the source, which hasn't happened. Until then, Biden backers are focusing on the back taxes he hopes to collect from other wealthy Americans. With an estimated $8 million net worth, he has given millions of dollars to charity, family members, and—yes—taxes.

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