Biden releases latest tax returns hours before Trump debate

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden wave to the audience.

Photo credit: Win McNamee | Getty Images | AFP

What you need to know:

  • The former vice president and his wife Jill Biden, an educator, paid $299,346 in federal income taxes for 2019.

Democratic White House hopeful Joe Biden released his tax returns for the last four years Tuesday just hours before he debates President Donald Trump, who faces criticism for paying almost no federal tax.

The former vice president and his wife Jill Biden, an educator, paid $299,346 in federal income taxes for 2019, according to forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service and released by Biden's campaign.

The amount stands in sharp contrast to Trump, who boasts of his success as a billionaire businessman but paid only $750 in federal income taxes in 2016, according to a bombshell report by The New York Times.

Biden paid millions more in taxes in 2018 and 2017, when he and his wife earned $4.5 million and $11 million, respectively.

The campaign also released the 2019 tax returns for Biden's running mate Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff, showing they paid $1.18 million on more than $3.2 million in income last year.

The issue of taxation -- and Trump's cloudy financial past -- is almost certain to come up in the opening presidential debate later Monday in Cleveland.

The Times alleged the real estate mogul turned president paid just $750 in federal income taxes in both the year he won the White House and in 2017, and no federal income taxes at all in 10 of the previous 15 years because he reported losing more money than he made.

Trump immediately dismissed the accusations as "totally fake news."

But the issue has the potential to resonate with voters, particularly working-class Americans, millions of whom are struggling to make ends meet during the coronavirus pandemic and are yet paying more to the government in taxes than the billionaire commander-in-chief.