Joe Biden releases 2019 tax returns ahead of tonight's debate

WASHINGTON -- Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden paid nearly $288,000 in federal income taxes last year, according to returns he released just hours before his Tuesday night debate with President Donald Trump.

The move came following a report from The New York Times that Trump paid just $750 in income taxes in 2016, the year he ran for president, and in 2017, his first year in the White House.

Biden and his wife, Jill, along with Biden's running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, released their 2019 federal and state returns as the president contends with the political fallout from a series of Times reports about Trump's long-hidden tax returns. The Times also reported that Trump paid no income tax at all in 10 of the 15 years prior to 2017.

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The Bidens' payment of $287,693 to the federal government in 2019 showed a substantial drop from the $1.5 million they paid in income taxes in 2018, reflecting both a decline in Biden's book revenue and his decision to run for the presidency and a leave of absence from his academic post at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. After paying $91,000 in 2016, Biden's last year as vice president in the Obama administration, the Bidens paid $3.7 million to the government in 2017, largely because of income from book deals.

The Biden campaign has moved aggressively to capitalize on the Times reports about Trump's tiny tax payments. The campaign released a media ad showing that nurses, firefighters and other working-class Americans pay far more in annual federal taxes than the $750 Trump tax payments described by the Times.

Trump has denied the Times report, dismissing it as "fake news" at a press conference, but he has provided no evidence to refute it.

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