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. wilnel1984

    Okay, let's take him and the Republicans at their word. If so, then let's show this courtesy to the people of Pennsylvania over their Voter ID.

    We should just be able to trust them on it when they say they are registered to vote instead of having to shell out cash to get a "proper" id.

    Whaddya say?

    August 16, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  2. mike

    Just show your taxs Romney. I dont trust you to tell the truth so prove it !!

    August 16, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  3. FLIndependent

    So, he thinks 13% is a big deal when it's not even close to the highest tax rate? What a schmuck!

    August 16, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  4. Dave

    Hmmm...the tax doc for 2008 (acquired by the anonymous hackers group) shows a tax of .008% on $24,000,000 after deductions.

    August 16, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  5. Cigar Smoker

    All I want to know is if Mittens took advantage of the "Offshore Tax Amnesty" on his 2009 tax return.

    August 16, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  6. Justjean

    Who can vote for a man who won't show his taxes upon request, much less volunteer them in the first place like his Dad did. He is saying I think you like me enough to get away with this. Not so much Mitt...not so much.

    August 16, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  7. Fair is Fair

    Woman in California

    I don't know how he did it. Neither do we until we see the returns but thank you for coming clean on the subject.
    ------–
    Tax returns are not going to show the inner workings of an IRA... no matter how many years you release. All they will show is the tax-free contributions made to the IRA in the year made, which correctly stated, have a maximum. Believe me, if that amount went over the maximum, the return would have been red-flagged, audited, and corrected. Your rants clearly put how much hatred you have for Mitt Romney right out there on the front page (who I can't fathom did ANYTHING to YOU to warrant such hate), so take what you want and leave the rest. It's pretty obvious you can't accept the truth.

    August 16, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  8. Marie MD

    @wilson and @wired – I live in Central Maryland. This is the area sit the higher educated people in MD and it's the blue state area. The red areas are the hillbillies in the east and west. The same ones that can't get out of their way when voting against their own self interest.
    Even these folks pay more than 13% taxes!

    August 16, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  9. GI Joe

    The republican party that wants to shrink medicare to where it can be drowned in a bath tub (Norquist and Rove) all of a sudden are going to make it bigger and better and it isn't going to cost anyone anything. ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

    We're old, but we're not stupid.

    August 16, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  10. G.

    "Mitt Romney has paid no less than 13% in personal income taxes over the past ten years, he said Thursday."

    No, that's not what he said. Look at the video. He said he's paid no less than 13% "in taxes".

    So sorry, Mitt. But charitable contributions do not factor into the formula for calculating your effective tax rate. So saying that you pay 20% including charitable contributions is extremely deceptive – especially when 80% of your charitable giving goes to one recipient (the Mormon church)

    When Mitt says he's paid at least 13% every year, my guess is that he's throwing everything from property taxes to state income taxes to sales tax into the mix. That way, in the unlikely event that his returns get leaked, he can say that the 13% figure wasn't a complete lie.

    Release your returns, Mitt! Your dad did it, and your opponent has done it. There is no excuse anymore. We already know that your returns will likely detail an *effective federal income tax rate* in the single digits for some years, when the average American pays more like 20%. And we know that your returns will also detail extensive use of legal but highly abusive tax-shelter schemes. So be like Nike and just do it, Mitt.

    August 16, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  11. RealityBites

    The only people who care about Romney's taxes are those that can't find anything positive to show about Obama legacy.., like CNN.

    August 16, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  12. rosaadriana

    Thats nice, I know of a famous Republican who said to trust but verify. We still need the returns.

    August 16, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  13. John

    A statement like that is an insult. I paid 20% on a little over 100k..Just keep it up so the Pres can win a second.

    August 16, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  14. mike

    Trust him you have to be kidding the guy lies so much how could you ever believe him in anything.SHOW THEM MITT its very easy...Prove it!

    August 16, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  15. Glenn Rice

    Prove it. Show the returns and put the issue to rest. But, at the same time, open the issues associated with hiding assets and overseas accounts.

    August 16, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  16. Psychologist

    Wow, my taxes are never below 20%

    August 16, 2012 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  17. BD70

    Oh ok Romney...your all good...NOT!

    August 16, 2012 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  18. LiLa

    Um, Mitt, donations to charity are not the same as paying taxes. And since you pulled your tax returns out to tell us that you've paid "at least 13%," (I should be so lucky with my taxes), why not show them to the rest of us?

    August 16, 2012 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  19. Ready

    To Amazing,
    Tax laws and fiscal policies of current presidents are two different things, see apples/oranges. Tax laws have been around for years and changes made to them by multiple administrations and congresses, it's a 50/50 proposition if not more sided on the Dems side to be factual.

    Obama promised he knew how to fix this economy, and promised to go through budgets line by line and etc, it's not hypocrisy to point out his failings.

    August 16, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  20. Just show us the returns, Mitt

    Given his difficult relationship with the truth thus far, I'd put this in the "pants on fire" category until he releases his actual returns.

    August 16, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  21. mike

    did you get Amnesty to avoid the felony charge of not reporting your overseas bank accounts when the IRS offered to guys like you a few years back....probably..show us!

    August 16, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  22. david

    And your word is worth what Mitt? Prove it. Turn around is fair plan. Your party DEMANDED a birth certificate...all we are asking for is to supply your tax returns for the same number of years that your father did.

    August 16, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  23. GI Joe

    Will Mitt give all his Adelson Macau, Communist Chinese money back? Didn't think so. Boy that would surely show them.

    Is President Obama a Doormat? NO - Diplomatic? yES

    President Obama knows how NOT to start WW 3 with every country on earth against us.

    Mitt and his co-hort know how to start it.

    August 16, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  24. Dennis

    Romney, the ace financial wizard states "...and if you add in addition the amount that goes to charity, why, the number gets well above 20%."

    Last time I checked, charitible contributions were a tax deduction that lowered your tax obligation, not an additional tax that raises your tax rate .

    And this from someone who worked at Bain with money and numbers his entire career . . .Is he really that ignorant, or just spinning another lie into a "truthy" statement?

    August 16, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  25. FLIndependent

    I'm confused – wasn't it the Tea Partiers who originally were against the corporate bailouts and golden parachutes for CEOs, but now their backing a guy that represents those very things. Oh that's right – those same corporations took over the Tea Party and succeeded in brainwashing the minions that greed is now good.

    August 16, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
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