Did Barack Obama Underreport His Income to IRS?
President Barack Obama released his recent personal finance records in 2008, which included his 2004 U.S. Individual Income Tax Return and Senate Annual Finance Report. President Obama's records for 2004 do not reconcile with the State of Illinois Comptroller's Office. There are inconsistencies in the total compensation received as an Illinois State Senator. The largest error likely is President Obama's omission of a "Leadership Stipend" of over $8,000. This stipend should have been recorded as income.
According to the Illinois Comptroller's office, then-State Senator Obama received:
2004 State of IL compensation: $ 52,817.38 (salary)
$ 8,040.01 (leadership stipend)
$ 3,765.00 (per diem)
$ 2,400.00 (mileage)
Stipends for State of Illinois legislators are paid to Senators and Representatives by their respective minority or majority leader. These stipends are not used to support the legislator's living costs, but are used by the leaders as bonuses. Stipends of this sort are taxable income, as they are given to enhance income.
Based on the information from the Illinois Comptroller's Office, Barack Obama's compensation for 2004 should be $60,857 income from the State of Illinois.
Statement 3, on Page 10 of the President's 2004 U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, shows Barack and Michelle Obama's income by source. It shows the "taxpayer" (T), Barack Obama, received $53,288 in wages from the Comptroller of the State of Illinois. This was compensation received for Barack Obama's representation of the 13th District of Illinois as a State Senator.
The total wage and salary income shown on President and Mrs. Obama's 2004 return total $207,342, which is reported as the total on Line 7 of Form 1040. The Obamas' joint return then pays taxes on this $207,647 "adjusted gross income" (including $305 Illinois tax refund).
Barack Obama won a US Senate race in 2004. The US Senate has Annual Financial Disclosure reports for all members. Then-Senator Barack Obama filed his 2004 report on June 5, 2005, exactly three months after his income tax return was completed. The 2004 Annual Financial Report, Barack Obama confirmed his salary compensation for the State of Illinois was $60,287.
In neither his U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, nor his Senate Annual Financial Report for 2004, does Barack Obama report his actual compensation from the State of Illinois. In both cases, Barack Obama has under-reported the income, as certified by the Illinois Comptroller's Office.
The IRS can bring charges of fraud under 26 USC 7206(1) for "fraud or false statements" made to on the U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. This can be prosecuted as a Class E felony, with maximum fines of $100,000 and imprisonment of up to 3 years.
The Senate's Financial Disclosure Statement warns that: "Any individual who knowingly and willfully falsifies, or who knowingly or willfully fails to file this report may be subject to civil and criminal sanctions. It then refers to three laws which may apply: 5 USC app. 6, 104 and 18 USC 1001.
Barack Obama certified that: "the statements I have made on this firm and all attached schedules are true, complete and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief", upon signing this report.
5 USC app. 104 provides the Attorney General to charge an individual with monetary fines and/or imprisonment for knowingly and willfully falsifies this report to Congress. This fine can be as high as $50,000 with imprisonment up to 1 year, a Class A misdemeanor.
18 USC 1001 provides for prosecution for knowingly and willfully false statements to the Federal government. This act allows for unspecified fines or imprisonment up to 5 years. Sentencing guidelines define this as a possible Class E felony.