Earlier today I noted that someone who earns $200,000 pays an average federal income tax rate of 15 percent. Well, it turns out that Bernie Sanders is really, really average. He released his 2014 tax return tonight, and it reports that he had an adjusted gross income of $205,617 and total taxes due of $27,653. That’s 13 percent of his income.
Oddly, his return shows total wages of $156,441, even though US senators earn a minimum of $174,000. I’m not sure what the explanation for this is. He also shows charitable contributions of $8,350, which is 4 percent of his income. He’ll get some flak for that, I suppose, but I find all the showiness of politicians about their charitable donations to be tiresome. Whatever it is, it’s fine.
I just want to know why his reported wages were less than his official salary. Does the Senate pay less if you collect Social Security benefits?
UPDATE: In comments, machev suggests that Bernie contributes $17,500 to the federal equivalent of a 401(k). So his reportable income is $174K – $17.5K = $156.5K