Sara Jacobs’ 2019 federal tax returns show she had an adjusted gross income of $7.18 million — mostly in capital gains from sale of Qualcomm stock. Times of San Diego photo illustration. Inset image via Jacobs’ campaign

Sara Jacobs released three years of her federal and state tax returns Friday after calls for a reciprocal move by her 53rd Congressional District rival, fellow Democrat Georgette Gómez.

Jacobs, whose wealth as a granddaughter of Qualcomm’s co-founder became an issue, in 2019 paid taxes of $1.46 million on income of $7.19 million for an effective federal tax rate of 23.9%. She paid $840,615 in state taxes that year, and also gave just above $1 million to charity.

In 2018, when her income was $2.13 million, Jacobs paid $454,402 in federal and $254,968 in state taxes, and in 2017, when she reported $4.07 million in income, she paid $918,649 in federal tax. Her 2017 state taxes were split between California ($356,010) and New York ($106,755).

Sara Jacobs’ state and federal tax returns for 2019, 2018 and 2017. (PDF)

In a fundraising email Sept. 22, the Gómez campaign said: “It’s been nearly 1 week since Georgette released her tax returns, but we’re still waiting for her opponent — who is trying to buy a seat in Congress — to do the same.”

On Friday, Jacobs’ campaign said her 2017 and 2018 returns had been ready for release but the 2019 returns were delayed by an IRS extension and the Jewish High Holy Days. The campaign said it wanted to release 2017-2019 taxes simultaneously.

Her CPA signed the 2019 taxes Friday.

Gómez, 44, the San Diego City Council president, paid nearly $9,000 in taxes on $82,000 income in 2019, $8,716 in 2018 and $12,356 in 2017, according to returns she released Sept. 17.

Federal election records through June 30 show that Jacobs, 31, who founded a child anti-poverty coalition, has given her own campaign $2.97 million. Forward California — a super PAC funded by her grandparents, Joan and Irwin Jacobs — spent $1.48 million through June.

Sara Jacobs, eyeing Georgette Gómez on debate stage in January, released three years of federal income tax returns. Photo by Chris Stone.

Irwin Jacobs, the Qualcomm icon, has spent millions on Democratic candidates and causes over the years.

Jacobs is polling well ahead of Gómez in the district, whose incumbent, Rep. Susan Davis, announced plans to retire after her 10th term ends in January. But that mid-September poll showed 38% of likely voters undecided in the race.

The unmarried Jacobs provided Times of San Diego her returns for the past three years Friday, ahead of posting on her campaign website. The document runs 344 pages and is minimally redacted (to delete her Social Security number, for example).

The bulk of her income was in capital gains. Under “wages, salaries and tips,” she listed making $14,564 in 2019 (as a scholar in residence at the University of San Diego’s Kroc School of Peace Studies). She made $2,141 in 2018 and $86,731 in 2017, when she worked for Project Connect.

In 2019, she made $6 million off the sale of Qualcomm stock, records show. She also made some money renting out her Manhattan apartment a few blocks south of the Whitney Museum of American Art and a Washington apartment about 2 miles north of the White House.

But she listed net losses totaling $231,960 on the properties — $195,939 for D.C., $36,021 for New York.

Carl Luna, the San Diego Mesa College political science professor, said the only thing her tax returns prove is that she comes from a wealthy family, “which is certainly not news to anyone in her district and so far has not seemed to be a drag on her campaign.”

The longtime local politics observer added: “Given that she came in first in the primary and has been ahead in the polls, it would seem the voters in that district have already given her a pass on her family’s economic status. But it was natural fodder for the Gómez campaign to focus on — throw it at the voters and see if it sticks, which, apparently, it hasn’t.”

On her 2019 New York state “Nonresident and Part-Year Resident Income Tax Return,” Jacobs listed her occupation as “politician.”

In October 2019, Jacobs gave the Jewish Community Foundation San Diego about $500,000 in Qualcomm stock, which she had acquired as a gift in September 1991, when she was 2 1/2.

Jacobs lists a home address in Park West — a 1,500-square-foot condo on Fifth Avenue in the 53rd District valued at $1.1 million. In 2018 and 2017, she listed home addresses in Del Mar, which was in the 49th District when she ran for Congress in 2018.

Friday night, the Gómez campaign said: “After delaying for weeks, Sara Jacobs’ tax returns have confirmed that she benefitted from the same Trump tax cuts that she supports.”

The 53rd District encompasses La Mesa, Lemon Grove, parts of El Cajon and Chula Vista and central San Diego neighborhoods such as Hillcrest, Grantville and North Park.

The next debate between Jacobs and Gómez is Saturday in an online event sponsored by Indivisible San Diego.

Updated at 1:57 p.m. Oct. 5, 2020

Show comments