Tax returns show Obama earnings declined in 2012

Michelle and Barack Obama at the White House, Washington DC 11 April 2013 Barack Obama has advocated for higher tax rates for the wealthiest Americans

US President Barack Obama made $608,611 (£395,947) in 2012, down more than 20% from the year before, according to his tax documents.

The decline in his pay comes as sales of Mr Obama's books slow. His presidential salary is $400,000.

He and wife Michelle paid an effective tax rate of 18.4% and donated $150,034 to 33 different charities.

Mr Obama's tax rate will rise next year under a recent agreement with Congressional Republicans.

"Under the president's own tax proposals, including limitations on the value of tax preferences for high-income households, he would pay more in taxes while ensuring we cut taxes for the middle class and those trying to get in it," said White House press secretary Jay Carney in a statement accompanying the release of the president's and vice-president's tax returns.

The president also paid $29,450 of state income tax in Illinois, the White House said.

About two-thirds of the Obamas' charitable contributions were given to the Fisher House Foundation, an organisation that provides assistance to military servicemen, veterans and their families.

The president's earnings have declined significantly from 2009. That year, his first in office, he earned $5.5m, mostly from sales of his books Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope.

Vice-President Joe Biden and his wife Jill reported $385,072 of income and paid $87,851 of federal tax.

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