Earlier this week, I blogged about the publich disclosure of 2003 tax return by the President, Vice President and next presidential candidata John Kerry. I was only able to comment on some news stories because I failed to find the 1040 forms.
One of my readers kindly pointed me to their tax forms (PDF Files):
George W. Bush's Tax Return
Dick Cheney's Tax Return
John Kerry's Tax Return
These forms are poorly scanned but still contain some more interesting details. For example, in Bush's tax return:
1) Neither George W. Bush nor Laura W. Bush chose to divert $3 of their tax contribution to the Presidential Election Compaign. This is probably because they know they will not benefit from it (in order to use public money, candidates need to limit spending to below 40 million dollars; Bush has already raised more than 100 million dollars).
2) In Schedule B, the First Family reported $14 to $45 interest from Bank of America, Bank One and Wells Fargo. Apparently they have checking account or saving account at each of the banks. Also it seems they don't have much opportunities to use personal money -- the interest they received seems to mean they don't have much balance in those banks.
3) As shown in Schedule B, most of the First Family's interest and ordinary dividends come from The Lone Star Trust (a total fo $395,309 for 2003). It apparently is part of the First Family's estate plan -- details should be contained in K-1 forms, while were not released to the public.
4) Schedule D (Capital Gain and Losses) shows the First Family is still writing off some capital losses inherited from previous years. The family is apparently quite conservative because the only transactions shown in Schedule D are in Treasury papers and The Lone Star Trust. (Another interpretation is the President does not want to have direct interest in publicly traded companies.)
5) In Schedule A (Itemized Deductions), the Family reported a tax preparation fee of $2,820 (box 21). The tax form is actually signed by Northern Trust Co. as trustee of the Family. The 1040 form does not include name and signature in the Paid Preparer spaces. I am not certain whether this creates a conflict.
Anyway, the public disclosure of tax returns are a very important aspect of our democracy. Actually, the disclosed John Kerry's tax returns attracted a few questions and it turns out that the presidential candidate has to amend his tax return and pay $11,577 more in tax year 2003.
By the way, the site www.taxhistory.org archives lots of tax returns disclosed by George W. Bush and ex-Presidents. The site is a wonderful read to understand the tax system developments in this country.