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. Ed

    Yes, he paid taxes each year. We all pay taxes when we buy gas or go to a restaurant. The real question is did he pay income taxes?

    August 16, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  2. Regressive

    @souptwins. Not blaming Romney for the tax code. But you do realize he wants to lower the tax rates for the wealthy even more, and do nothing about the capital gains tax which is 15% and he still manages to pay less that that!!! I think since he has demonstrated that he will go to great lengths to minimize the amount of taxes he pays to HIS country, knowing that somehow that money needs to come from somewhere and HE clearly cares more about minimizing HIS and HIS friends tax burden than the average American worker that actually has to get up everyday and go to work for the money they earn only to have the government take a greater percentage than they do from Romney. Sorry, I wouldn't hire this guy to run the government, maybe my business, but not the government. Never once have I heard him say that the tax code is unfair, or that an average worker should not pay any more than he does himself. What he has done may very well be legal, but it is a far cry from being patriotic and or moral, given that he wants the power to make decisions clearly in it to benefit him and only him. Don't trust the guy, he seems like a snake slithering in the grass waiting to strike.

    August 16, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    "How will you get them to take those risks if there's no longer a tax incentive?"

    If you think that raising the capital gains tax rate will result in people stopping their investment activity in order to turn their riches into more riches, ten you clearly don't understand. They will do it because keeping 70-80% of their income instead of keeping 80-90% of their income is better than not making the income in the first place.

    August 16, 2012 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  4. S.M

    With his lower (or no) tax rate, how many jobs has he created in the last 10 years?

    August 16, 2012 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  5. Cindy

    Mike Huckabee said "Romney is a man without a Soul." This is a man, while our young people were fighting in Iraq, he sat around trying to screw the government during a time of war. This is a man that should be tried for War Treason."

    August 16, 2012 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  6. Charlie

    Sorry Romney...........taxes are taxes, charities are charities. You cannot combined both and call it a tax.

    August 16, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  7. Dumbpolitics

    How come I have to pay way more of a percentage rate of tax than he does? I'm an Anerican, I know I work like 1,000 times harder than he does. My daughter has a dog, 2 guinie pigs, a bird, and some fish. That's way more animals than him. Why can't I get a 70,000.00 dollar tax break for her animals. I actually have to clean their messes. Does Mitt clean-up afer his wife's horse?

    August 16, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  8. hispeed

    souptwins – nobody is blaming Romney, we blame Bush for the tax rates on investment income. Remember that was part of the Bush tax cuts; before that, investment income was taxed at the same rate as earned income, which it should be. Giving the 'rich' a lower tax rate on investments is nonsense and doesn't spur investment. I mean, really? People wouldn't invest if the income was taxed at the same rate that I pay on my income? BS AND, from the figures that are supplied about unemployment, the tax break hasn't done any good now, has it? By the way, my fed rate came out to 21.99% on 180k for last year. I would love to have an extra 7% of that back. Romney appears to think that 13% is sufficient. Have a nice evening !!

    August 16, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  9. libbie_sheep

    hahahahahaa – you guys just proved the point – no matter what he paid....based on the LAW (not your opinion)....you will complain. As if he is going to tell more to tak e more llame libbie abuse. hahahahaa see you in Nov. I'll drive the moving truck in Jan

    August 16, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  10. 2008-2016

    OK. Stop for a minute, and think rationally, everybody. Just listen: PRESIDENT Obama(as some STILL refuse to acknowledge him) is FAR from perfect (what POTUS hasn't been?), but just compare he and Romney: First, Romney-
    1.) Served (worked is a relative term) at Bain Capital, raiding companies, laying off workers, outsourcing jobs;
    2) As governor of Massachusetts, his state was 47TH in job creation; 3) Has said repeatedly that he's "not concerned
    with the very poor." Understand that the very poor are not the crack-addled, welfare leeches that so many people make
    them out to be. Many are people who HAD good-paying jobs and a good quality of life until BUSH, Jr. took care of that.
    No, I'm not saying that Obama should continue to blame Bush, but there was no way that we would make a quick recovery after eight years of failed economic policy; 4)Romney is not releasing those tax records because he knows, like we all do, that has taken advantage of tax loopholes, shelters, Swiss/Caymans accounts, etc. Seriously, how can
    anyone believe that this man is presidential material? BECAUSE HE'S NOT OBAMA?? That's all he has? Under President
    Obama, there has been at least 24 months of straight job creation, the ACA (which many citizens support, despite the
    inaccuracies often attributed to it), one of the most wanted terrorist leaders killed, beginning of troop withdrawl from
    Iraq/Afghanistan, etc. I've been disappointed in some of President Obama's missteps, too, but we are on the road to
    recovery. I have to say OBAMA/BIDEN 2012

    August 16, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  11. Lenny

    So repeatedly asking for Obama's birth certificate isn't losing sight of the big piture but asking for Tax returns is? What I don't understand is how the American public can read this paragraph and not be absolutely amazed at the BS. It makes no sense at all when you read it carefully...
    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%."

    August 16, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  12. Lando

    Mitt...you can release the returns....I'm not going to obligate you to pay for the true income you had for the past
    years...you know what I'm talkin about...10% of ALL income..............Your Savior...JSmith

    PS. can't guarantee the IRS can forgive.....most of all ...the American people

    August 16, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  13. bxgrrl

    This is what he's been saying all along. Where's the "more?"

    August 16, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  14. 60minuteman

    Mitt Romney paid taxes all those years? Yeah, and I'm the King of England too....

    August 16, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  15. Bob

    How would a "Bain investor" get access to Romney's tax returns for 10 years? If you're that gullible, you deserve the President we have.

    August 16, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  16. john

    the poor and uneducated have been voting against their economic interest and for Republicans for decades. the more Republican Governors cut state secondary education and the lower the intelligence level of the average voter drops the more Republicans are elected. the GOP (Guardians of Oils Power) might have to fraudulently drop only 500,000 voters for each swing state to throw the election to Romney. Never underestimate the stupidity of the American voter.

    August 16, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  17. Trickle down doesn't work

    As Ronnie Raygun famously said, "trust but verify'. Being that you're a compulsive liar, we'll need to see the returns, please.

    August 16, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  18. Canuck

    @coloradom
    "So what's wrong with hiding money overseas if the U.S. government allows it?"

    Nothing, except wouldn't you want someone with greater integrity than that trying to be your President ??

    August 16, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  19. Karrie

    He can say whatever he wants. Unless he puts them out there, nobody can prove him right or wrong.

    August 16, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  20. rms

    Show me the forms – no one is going to believe Romney or take him at his word. His telling us he checked into it and he has paid is a joke – why does he refuse to produce the evidence which would shut everyone on up on this question? The man is great at talking the talk but he needs to start walking the walk.

    August 16, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  21. mm

    10% to charity translates into 10% to the Mormon church which he is required to give and writes off. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but the Mormon church does not give back to communities or society as a whole. Where are the Mormon homeless shelters, food banks, support for our troops, wounder warriors, etc. Please, if I am wrong, someone please enlighten me.

    August 16, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  22. Jack in Florida

    Amazing, this guy is truly amazing. The party of NO is all about protecting the wealthy, as they will not raise the tax rates on the wealthy. This is absurd with the deficit we currently have. They are not even trying to be coy about this matter. 13% is highway robbery!!

    August 16, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  23. fastrack1

    Here's a thought, MittBott: you release your tax returns and maybe Harry will reveal his source. You'll just have to trust him.

    August 16, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  24. Trickle down doesn't work

    How many "Romneys" do we have out there doing the same thing? No wonder the country is broke. It's like turning on the lights and watching all the roaches scurrying away.

    August 16, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  25. RPE

    It seems most of the respondents here are died in the wool Obama supporters with no ability to think beyond the talking points. Pertinent points include: 1) Obama promised to cut the debt in half – failed 2) Obama promised to keep unemployment under 8% – failed 3) Pandered to gay community for votes 4) Pandered to the Hispanic community by offering amnesty to illegals 5) Has not cut spending in any capacity and has only increased it. 6) Where is al lthe transparency he promised – ie fast and furious – health care debate? So, all you Obama supporters convince me to vote for him by sharing his plans for getting all under control, ok? What is his plan to get debt under control? What is his plan to increase private sector jobs? What experience does Obama have in private sector business? Somebody, please open your eyes and stop being so blindly loyal to a horrible president.

    August 16, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
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