Obama books help net couple $2.5m

US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle took home a combined income of more than US$2.5 (€1.9m) last year, tax return forms showed.

In all, the couple made $2,656,902 dollars (€2,017,254) in 2008 - with the vast majority coming from the sale of the president's best-selling books.

It meant that they were forced to pay $855,323 (£570,867) back to the government in taxes. A further $172,050 (€130,651) was distributed among 37 different charities.

The president's income and tax contribution was declared as anti-tax protesters held a series of tea party demonstrations across the US. Organisers of the events - reputedly stoked by right-wing commentators - are angry at the Obama administration's perceived tax-and-spend policies.

The protests have been designed to echo the 1773 Boston Tea Party in which colonists dumped tea into Boston Harbour under the slogan "No taxation without representation".

They coincide with the last day for Americans to file their tax return forms.

The Obamas' income is made up largely from proceeds from the president's 'Dreams From My Father' and 'The Audacity of Hope'. The two books brought the couple nearly $2.5m (€1.9m) in royalties last year.

The overall take-home pay for the couple has slumped from the previous year, however. In 2007 their combined income was $4.2m (€3.2m).

Vice president Joe Biden and his wife Jill reported a pre-tax income of $269,256 (€204,485).

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