August 16th, 2012
01:18 PM ET
2 years ago

Romney says he paid at least 13% in taxes for last ten years

Greer, South Carolina (CNN) – Mitt Romney has paid no less than 13% in personal income taxes over the past ten years, he said Thursday.

The presumptive GOP nominee has faced withering criticism from Democrats over the release of his tax returns, including a charge by Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid that Romney had paid no taxes for a ten year period. Reid did not specify if those were the last ten years, or an earlier period.

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Romney expressed frustration with Reid's attack at a press conference with reporters in South Carolina.

"I did go back and look at my taxes and over the past ten years I never paid less than 13%. I think the most recent year is 13.6 or something like that. I paid taxes every single year," Romney said, explaining he had gone back to check his records after being asked by a reporter about the tax rates he had paid. "Harry Reid's charge is totally false. I am sure waiting for Harry to put up who it was that told him what he says they told him – I don't believe it for a minute by the way – but every year I paid at least 13% and if you add in addition the amount that goes to charity, why, the number gets well above 20%."

Reid had told reporters an anonymous source gave him a tip. A source close to Reid later said that Reid got the information from an investor with Bain, the private equity firm Romney ran.

A spokesman for Reid, Adam Jentleson, said in a statement Thursday after Romney's press conference, "We'll believe it when we see it. Until Mitt Romney releases his tax returns, Americans will continue to wonder what he's hiding. Romney seems to think he plays by a different set of rules than every other presidential candidate for the last thirty years, all of whom lived up to the standard of transparency set by Mitt Romney's father and released their tax returns."

Romney has released his 2010 tax returns and an estimate of his 2011 tax returns when he filed for an extension, but has declined to make available any earlier returns.

On Thursday he called insistent questions over his tax documents "small-minded compared to the broad issues that we face" such as unemployment and the nuclear threat from Iran.

President Barack Obama's campaign quickly dismissed Romney's tax revelation in a statement.

"Mitt Romney today said that he did indeed 'go back and look' at his tax returns and that he never paid less than 13% in taxes in any year over the past decade. Since there is substantial reason to doubt his claims, we have a simple message for him: prove it," Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith wrote. "Even though he's invested millions in foreign tax havens, offshore shell corporations, and a Swiss bank account, he's still asking the American people to trust him. However, given Mitt Romney's secrecy about his returns, coupled with the revelations in just the one return we have seen to date and the inconsistencies between this one return and his other financial disclosures, he has forfeited the right to have us take him just at his word."

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Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Taxes
soundoff (1,476 Responses)
  1. Robert

    If it's true Romney just show us the records. This is getting beyond shaddy.

    August 16, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  2. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Mitt the twit is clearly not the solution. He's the problem. That's why he hides his tax returns behind Ann's skirt.

    August 16, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  3. Wilson

    ""Will someone please tell me what happened to all the "Compassionate Conservatives" that Dubya touted back in 2000? It appears these days that the only thing Conservatives have in common with Compassion is they are both found in the Dictionary under the letter "C".""
    --------------------------------
    All the people wanting a "handout" rather than a "handup" are making us rather cynical. The Dems are not helping with them removing the requirment to look for work, out of conditions of government assistance.

    August 16, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  4. Ken in MD

    As a member of the middle class, I don't think I've ever paid less than 30%. Once again showing just how out of touch Romney is.

    August 16, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  5. nuntukamen

    So Romney says. And his charitable donations are to the political arm of the Mormon church, but he somehow defines that as paying more taxes. Undefendable arrogance and snobbish nonsense. Next he'll claim his country club fees are a form of taxation.

    August 16, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  6. Marie MD

    @obmama-ending blah, blah. Look up the Italian story of how the flip flopper with bain made $50-$60 million in Italy and how they diverted said money through Luxembourg so as NOT to pay taxes while leaving the Italian workers with nothing.
    This piece of scum has not only crushed American workers hen did they same to Italian workers!
    He can't step on Italian soil and considering Italian policies and lawmakers, including their leadoff in the past ten years that's really bad!

    August 16, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  7. Indie in VA

    What kind of a man includes charity donations with taxes? C'mon, Mitt....

    August 16, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  8. HJA

    Isn't that nice. Romney make over 700 times what I make and I pay 1.65 times more of my income in taxes than him. I know it's not much but I sure as hell could use the extra money. Sorry Mitt, you're off my ballot.

    August 16, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  9. Nagrad

    I didn't pay taxes for 16 years...... Then I got my first summer job in high school. See how easy it is to play with words?

    August 16, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  10. James, AL

    What is amazing to is that Mitt is getting prepared to accept his parties nomination and he has not fulfilled all the tax requirements to be a candidate for president. And now he just want us to take him at his word that he paid 13% taxes. Prove it Mitt, prove it!

    August 16, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  11. American People

    Mitt Romney is a liar and more importantly a tax evader/criminal. The American People want to SEE your tax returns Mitt. We want to see it to believe it Mitt. We do NOT trust you one bit. We also want to know how many jobs you off-shored and how much money you have in off-shore accounts evading taxes.

    August 16, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  12. bob

    why would you add your charitable contributions to calculate your tax rate?? more Romney math.

    a guy that makes millions and he is bragging about paying all of 13%? he just made a lot of folks mad who make $40K and paid more than that.

    August 16, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  13. Facts R Facts

    In 2009, the IRS offered a one year amnesty program so USA tax evaders with Swiss bank accounts could come clean.

    Ya'think Mitt took advantage of this?

    August 16, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  14. David

    Running for the highest public job in the U.S. means that you have to be transparent. Instead, most of Romney's campaign has been to say little about his work at Bain or as Governor of Massachusetts, and he still has not released his tax returns. Romney wants to run government like he ran Bain, with no regulation or oversight, behind closed doors, releasing as little information as possible. Dribbling out information only raises more questions about how his work at Bain and how he made his millions. !3% over 10 years; does that mean he paid 0 taxes in a few years and higher taxes to average the 13%. Release the documents to close the deal, on the questions related to the taxes. If he can’t be direct about tax returns, is that the same approach that will be taken for larger issues; like relations with foreign governments, cutting deals without public input, gutting programs and any regulatory oversight.

    August 16, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  15. Amazing

    To Ready,

    Do you also apply the same principle to our current economic situation which Republicans have caused? Why blame Obama when your Republican friends refuse to deal with the real issues of this country? Hypocrisy is evident on both sides so don't try this morality statement on behalf of Republicans.

    August 16, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  16. Wilson

    @WiredWeirdinSF
    You mean a state that has such high unemployment, is run by corrupt unions, has its major city bankrupt, and public employee pension funds shoud vote for Obama. Does that make sense? Only if you are a corrupt union boss and a member of the NEA drive by education society. States like Illinois and Michigan deserve exactly what they get.
    -------------------------------------------
    Agreed, though I live in Illinois and the suprising thing is there are only two sections in the state that are blue...they just happen to have the largest populations, near chicago and one county near East St. Louis. All the rest of the state is thoroughly red. So the greatest portion suffers because of the smallest.

    August 16, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  17. thanks, but no thanks

    To Independent,
    so you are fine with Bush running our economy to disaster for 8 years, but 3 1/2 years of trying to get out of it is a long time. As we already knew number and statistics are of no importance to the whack jobs. Just trying to get this President out of the office. l smell some bigotry there.... If you convince me that you were concern about debt 5 years ago, then l would believe every nut job out there. Remember Cheney deficit's do not matter...

    August 16, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  18. Indyswimmer66

    13%!!! Are you kidding me?How come we're paying 28%?

    August 16, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  19. Sarah

    So why won't he release his returns?????? His father thought it was important to release numerous years tax returns when he was a candidate for the Republican nomination. What are you hiding Mitt?

    August 16, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  20. Woman In California

    @ NOTAGOPFAN

    You nailed it! The Romney's are liars.

    August 16, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  21. Curt

    What a great country the USA is. You can make tens of millions of dollars a year and only pay about 13%. Really is time for the tax laws to be changed. Of course considering most politicians are wealthy, does anyone really think they will change the tax code and have to pay more taxes?

    August 16, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  22. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    As I have dealt with a tax rate over 20%, with mortgage interest deduction, I have no sympathy for him. The difference in real dollars between his 13% and my 20% would more than pay off my mortgage, finance my 10 year old daughter's future college education and completely fund my wife's, my daughter's and my retirement, as well as paying for lavish funeral expenses for all three of us. As to the other millions of dollars that are left...

    August 16, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  23. TheNYCdb

    He keeps avoiding saying the words "Federal Income Tax." It feels like Governor Romney is trying to split hairs, he could be paying 13% in combined taxes (state, property, sales) while paying no Federal income tax.

    August 16, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  24. Sue

    I wouldn't believe the man if he told me the sky is blue! I have listened to more lies from this self-absorbed, pompous jerk than I care to count! He must think most Americans are ignorant and would fall for his VERY VAGUE gibberish regarding his so-called "13%" taxes! The ones who believe him are deluding themselves. Good luck to them!

    August 16, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  25. Marty, FL

    Don't believe Romney at all. He already lied about his tax returns in MA and do not trust him now.

    What is Romney hiding?

    August 16, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
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