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Bush, Kerry Release Tax Returns

President Bush and Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry have released their 2003 income tax returns.

Mr. Bush reported $822,126 in adjusted gross income for last year, on which he paid $227,490 in federal income taxes — or about 28 percent, according to the president's federal returns released Tuesday by the White House.

The president and his wife, Laura, listed as income his presidential salary, interest and the investment income from trusts that hold their assets.

Sen. Kerry reported $395,000 in taxable income and paid $90,575 in federal income taxes, according to a campaign press release. Kerry's income included his senatorial salary and $89,000 in proceeds from his book, "A Call to Service."

Kerry reported $43,735 in charitable contributions.

The Massachusetts senator is married to Teresa Heinz Kerry, heiress to the $500 million Heinz Co. food fortune. He files his income taxes returns separately.

The Bushes' income and tax bill was slightly lower than the previous year, when the First Couple reported $856,056 in adjusted gross income and paid $268,719 in federal income taxes. For 2002, the Bushes paid about 31 percent of their income in federal taxes.

The White House also released the 2003 tax return filed by Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife, Lynne. They reported $1.3 million in adjusted gross income and owed $253,067 in federal taxes. The Cheneys' 2003 tax bill — much lower than the $341,114 they paid for 2002 on just slightly less money — represented just 20 percent of their income.

For 2002, the Cheneys paid 29 percent of their adjusted gross income in federal taxes. Their income includes the vice president's $198,600 government salary and the $178,437 he earned in deferred compensation from Halliburton Co., the Dallas-based energy services firm he headed until Aug. 16, 2000. Cheney elected in 1998 to recoup over five years a portion of the money he made in 1999 as chief executive officer of Halliburton.

"The amount of deferred compensation received by the vice president is fixed and is not affected by Halliburton's current economic performance or earnings in any way," said a statement released by the vice president's office — a word-for-word reiteration of the statement he released last year.

The vice president's office made the statement to explain the deferred compensation. Cheney's office has repeatedly stated that the vice president doesn't have a financial stake in the success of Halliburton, nor does he have anything to do with defense contracts.

The Cheneys' income also includes Mrs. Cheney's income from work at the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington-based think tank, and compensation from her service on the Reader's Digest board of directors in 2003.

The White House distributed the Bushes' federal form 1040 for 2003 with attached schedules two days before the April 15 filing deadline. For Cheney, only the federal form 1040 was released.

The Bushes reported itemized deductions of $95,043, including $68,360 to churches and charitable organizations, including Evergreen Chapel at Camp David, Md., Tarrytown United Methodist Church in Austin, Texas, St. John's Church in Washington, D.C., the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas and the federal government's Combined Federal Campaign.

The Bushes paid $21,352 in state property taxes on their ranch near Crawford, Texas, up from $19,902 last year.

The Cheneys reported itemized deductions of $454,649. The couple donated $321,141 to charity in 2003, mostly in royalties from the sales of Mrs. Cheney's books, "America: A Patriotic Primer," "A is for Abigail" and soon-to-be-out "Fifty States."

Mr. Bush overpaid his 2003 taxes by $61,451, and elected to apply the entire amount to their 2004 tax bill.

The Cheneys overpaid their taxes by $5,712 and also directed that amount to go toward their 2004 taxes.

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