Gores paid $59,178 in taxes; Bush files to extend deadline

By Curt Anderson, Associated Press, 4/15/2000

ASHINGTON - Vice President Al Gore and his wife, Tipper, paid the government $59,178 in income taxes for 1999 and kept their donations to charity in five figures, too, according to tax returns released yesterday. Texas Governor George W. Bush was filing for an extension to send his return in past Monday's deadline.

Meanwhile, investment income earned by President Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton has nearly tripled since 1997, but their overall income is down largely due to a drop in royalties from Mrs. Clinton's book, according to their tax returns.

Two years after the Gores were ridiculed for giving only $353 to charity, they reported $15,000 in contributions for last year, almost exactly the same as the year before.

A White House statement said the money went to ''causes helping those with various illnesses, religious organizations, educational institutions and other public service entities.''

Bush, Gore's all-but-certain Republican rival for the presidency, made an estimated tax payment to his blind trust, which in turn will pay the Internal Revenue Service, spokeswoman Mindy Tucker said. No figure was released.

Though paying now, as required, Bush will ask for an extension to file his actual return while awaiting information from the trust, which manages his assets.

About 8 million taxpayers are expected to get extensions this year, according to the IRS.

Taxpayers can get an automatic four-month extension to file income tax returns without penalty or interest, but they have to pay taxes due on time.

The Gores reported adjusted gross income of $240,792, placing them in the lower part of the top 2 percent income bracket. That includes the vice president's salary of $175,400.

Gore earned $13,989 in royalties from his book, ''Earth in the Balance,'' which was published in 1992. Rental income from a residence in Arlington, Va., and from the Gore family farm in Carthage, Tenn., added $40,820, and the Gores reported $29,260 in capital gains from investments.

The Gores paid $59,178 in income taxes and could have claimed a refund of $2,873, but they decided to apply that amount to their 2000 tax bill.

The average tax for people in the Gores' bracket was $71,037 in 1997, the most recent year for which complete IRS statistics are available.

The Gores claimed itemized deductions of $25,638, including $12,107 in home mortgage interest and $1,158 in real estate taxes. They list their home as Carthage, Tenn., not the vice president's official residence in Washington.

Bush is paid $115,345 as governor of Texas, but has transferred his daily salary of about $300 to Lieutenant Governor Rick Perry when he is out campaigning for president.

In a federal financial disclosure report filed in May, Bush said he owned $7 million in US Treasury notes and estimated the blind trust's worth at $1 million. He had two money market accounts worth up to $1.25 million each.

In 1998, Bush and his wife, Laura, paid $3.77 million in income taxes on an income estimated at $18.4 million, the bulk of it from the sale of the Texas Rangers baseball team, of which Bush had been managing partner.

Officials at the campaign headquarters of Reform Party candidate Patrick J. Buchanan did not return telephone calls seeking tax information.

The Clintons reported adjusted gross income of $416,039 for 1999, down about $88,000 from the year before. That still placed them in the top 2 percent income bracket, a group that pays 40 percent of all US income taxes.

The first couple paid $92,104 in income taxes and could have claimed a refund of $2,278, but they decided instead to apply that to next year's tax bill.

The average taxes paid by all taxpayers in their income group was just over $71,000 in 1997, the most recent year complete IRS statistics are available.

Their earnings included Clinton's salary as president of $200,000, which is set by law, and $185,857 in capital gains, dividend and interest income mainly from their blind trust managed by Pell Rudman Trust Co.

The capital gains income of $179,849 last year compares with $65,028 in 1997, mirroring the gains earned by millions of other investors during the stock market's boom.