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 (1,477 Responses)
  1. steven harnack

    And since that was just way, way too much, he decided to become President and get that rate down to 00.0%. Or perhaps it's time for the government to give him some refunds on that 13%.

    August 16, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  2. sgurdog

    I wonder if he's factoring in his tax deduction for charitable donations. I'm kind of miffed that this guy pays less than I do and he wants it lowered even more for his tax bracket.

    August 16, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  3. souptwins

    It seems we are using Romney's taxes as a case study in what's wrong with the tax code and proceeding to blame him for it. He didn't create the tax laws but is smart to take advantage of all the deductions available to him. If people want to discuss the tax code, fine. Use a hypothetical example of someone with investment income. It doesn't have to be a real person to spur the discussion. Who among us pays more than required? Who among us doesn't take every deduction legally available? If you want to push the tax rates for investment income to a level equal to earned income, what are you going to do to encourage investment? Our economy requires rich people willing to take risks through investments. How will you get them to take those risks if there's no longer a tax incentive? What percentage does every see as "fair"? These are the real questions that no one seems willing to address.

    August 16, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  4. FullDisclosure

    Two words for Mr. Romney: prove it!

    Romney has proven again and again that he is willing to tell blatant lies when it suits him. This is no different. We the People are not going to simply take his word for it.

    August 16, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  5. Jon in Rochester

    Can he prove it? What else is he hiding on those returns then. Maybe he didn't give his full 10% to his church as required.

    August 16, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  6. blow hard

    one way to prove you are not lying to us all Mitt! You can prove everyone wrong, but for some reason you refuse to...

    August 16, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  7. ray

    you know the funny thing about these red necks, racists, immigrant haters on the right? the will vote against there own intrest just to get the blackman out the white house, remember its called the white house and how it hurts the red necks on the right so much having a african american living in it. this man romney is a pathological liar and he pick another liar to be vp. america and american are are becoming a joke . the rest of the world is watching these white people and saying what a bunc of racists they are. example, had all the illegal immigrants been white we would never had an immigrantion problem ALL THE ILLEGAL WHITES WOULD HAVE BEEN GIVEN GEEN CARDS ALREADY. i will say it, AMERICA IS A JOKE

    August 16, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  8. carly

    what a clown if there is nothing to hide then show it. In addition that BS about charity is meaningless. As a taxpayer you pay taxes. If you want to give to a charity great but has nothing to do with the taxes paid. Also that charity is his church, the same one that funded prop 8 in California, baptized Jews without consent and considered blacks the devil until recently. Great charity.

    August 16, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  9. DemsDIgOwnGrave

    How many of the people on this list pay MORE than what they owe to the federal gov't? Anybody? Just what I thought
    I don't either. Quit moaning about what Romney paid. Why don't you worry with such virulence how much our government actually spends? While your at it, encourage your congressman to close the "capital gains" loophole - that's where Romney gets his 15% * (Capital gains – gifts to charity) tax rate. Ask your congressman and senator why they won't close
    this loophole? Quit blaming a citizen for paying the tax he owes, blame your government for creating crazy laws.

    August 16, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  10. Anon 2012

    Mr. Romney has proven to be a pathological liar according to even Newt Gingrich, so no, we will not just take his word for it. Prove it Mitt. Release your taxes.

    August 16, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  11. Nix the Food Stamp President

    Following the tax code is somehow illegal to liberals. He paid according to our mind boggling tax rules what is right and given more than 10% annually to charity. We have had a fair capital gains tax for long terms over the past few years I am sure that has helped. Believe me that 10% he gave to charity does 10 times in good what the 13% he has paid the government. It’s all hypocrisy because even Al Gore, Michael Moore and host of other libertards pay as little as possible. Even Warren Buffett says he paid a 17.4 percent effective tax rate and he did not find it necessary to send more to the black hole (US Treasury).

    August 16, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  12. domeunit

    13% isn't enough, I'm paying 30% and make way less than he does. If it's all about fairness, he should pay the same amount percentage wise as I do. Not saying he should pay more than me, but it's ridiculous that he's paying less.

    August 16, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  13. ritmocojo

    Let's just see 'em Mr. Romney.

    August 16, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  14. DC Observer

    The nation is going down the toilet and all Obama and Reid do is ask for tax returns; run negative ads; amd continue to stick it to America's middle class.

    Mr President, we don;t care about no tax returns; we want jobs

    August 16, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  15. Steve

    I am paying 18% on 70M. Wow, I would like to know how to get to 13%.

    August 16, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  16. domeunit

    13% isn't enough considering I make much less than he does and have to pay 30%. If it's about fairness, he should be paying the same amount as the average American. Not saying he should pay more, but he should at least be at the same area as the rest of us, and that goes for all rich people.

    August 16, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  17. Jim Hahn

    I wouldn't trust anything that man has to say. He is not trustworthy and we have seen this time and time again. He says one thing and then a month later he says another. If he has nothing to hide, then release the returns, other wise we consider him to be deceitful and dishonest. He can say what he wants to deflect the question of his returns, but the truth lies within.

    August 16, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  18. Thomas

    What he paid ? 13% , he said 10 % a few months ago.

    Overseas investments , Offshore Banks .
    What concerns me is that the guy has been running for President for over six years. Not once during the 2008 election did he mention the ECONOMY , all he talked about was national security.

    Anybody remember Romney heeding a warning of an economic downturn back in 08 ? Ether he was hedging and made a lot of money on others loss. Or he was just like GW Bush and clueless.

    Please tell me if I'm wrong .

    August 16, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  19. samuel

    Drug dealer do the things he has dne ! With overseas money acounts, taxes deductions on everything he can use....t jst not pay your share. This and his taxes cut plan for the super rich should tell you something. Also, we will pay for it by losing the taxe deduction for interest paid on your house mortage. WHich mean an increase of about 2K n the avg. For me it mean an increase of 4k. He want American who cant afford it to pay more and fool us with a cut cut across the board. The Bush taxe cut has not work...why try it again ? And he did not invest his money into jobs during this time...he used deductions and off shore bank account....not create jobs.

    Nope. I am not voting for the GOP this time...I have tried that kool aide...and look where we are.

    August 16, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  20. Jeff

    Mitt, Mitt, Mitt, Were not idiots. You may think we are but were not.

    August 16, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  21. DemsDIgOwnGrave

    @Fulldisclosure... This is the US, where presumed innocent until proven guilty. Baseless accusation is called Libel.
    It's a felony. Mr. Reid probably committed a felony.

    August 16, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    "Use a hypothetical example of someone with investment income. It doesn't have to be a real person to spur the discussion."

    Well then, seeing as how Mittens is a robot, we seem to be doing just fine. BTW, Mittens is running on a platform that would create massive, inequitable benefits for someone like himself, who is already apaprently receiving massive inequitable benefits from the tax code and other laws. His desire to exacerbate the situation his tax returns reveal makes his tax returns eminently relevant to the discussion.

    August 16, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  23. kayla

    what a joke, why don't you just prove it?

    August 16, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  24. asm_ith

    Jonathan says:
    "I don't know why everyone is getting so upset. He's paying what the government says he should pay. Who would ever pay more than they have to?!"

    I don't believe that Romney did anything illegal. However, his returns might indicate that the chose personal greed over investments that might have benefited things in America; again, perfectly legal, but I doubt if his life would have been different if he only received $15 million instead of $20 million by choosing different investments or keeping his money here instead of in the Caymans or Switzerland. Moreover, if elected, he will be proposing changes to the tax laws, including deductions to be changed or eliminated; it is important for us to see if he chooses to protect deductions that benefit him at the expense of others.

    August 16, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  25. Reality

    How many times did the right say, "If you have nothing to hide, just show us", even after Obama released his BC several times. But now, the silence is deafening. But I agree with them, if Mitt doesn't show his tax returns, he is definitely hiding something.

    August 16, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
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