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. John

    Romney has, and continues to prove that he can change his mind (and lies) faster than a car salesman can talk.No, He is not a credible man for the big job of leading this country. And he still doesn't get it. I payed more than 30% on my hundred grand. I'd love to have only payed 13%. Maybe we should all only pay 13% taxes and see how long the government can survive. Cut out all the loopholes the the rich and corps put into the law,plus cut all those billions from the military and we could send every child to college free, plus rebuild our roads and bridges. Why don't we ask Mitt if he is willing to do that and what his plans are for rebuilding our almost broken infrastructure. Those are questions we need to ask.

    August 16, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  2. Romney is not My Hero

    I believe every word. Thank you, horse-Mitt, for being so open and honest. I cannot convey how deeply humbled I am now. NOT!!! You are a liar... Please go away – you and your ventriloquist doll Ryan.

    OBAMA 2012!

    August 16, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  3. acd

    He already paid taxes on a the initial chunk of $ years and years ago at a higher rate. This is the capital gain (long-term) and dividends rate set by the gov't. 15%! He invested in companies – which helps the economy. You would pay 15% if you had income from invesments. Please understand what this means and don't think he didn't pay his fair share. It's the law and common practice. He already paid other taxes on the large lump sum at a higher rate!

    August 16, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  4. Obama Cares

    Write that on your "white board," mr. etch-a-sketch.

    August 16, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  5. CNNuthin

    Wow! 13% That is great! That sure makes me feel better with the average American worker paying about 33% a year. Thanks Romney for showing you are doing your part.....

    August 16, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  6. Kenny K

    @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?......
    ________________________________
    1. Real life example is better than hypothetical example.
    2. Although Romney did not create the tax code that is favorable to him, he does not have any plan to change it.

    August 16, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  7. Trickle down doesn't work

    He said that he hasn't worked in 10 years so he was probably collecting unemployment, welfare and foodstamps too.

    August 16, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  8. RPE

    And all the blind Obama supporters want to do is talk about tax returns. Guess that is because there is nothing good to say about Obama's time in office, so the only option is to attack his opponent because there is nothing ot be said in support of Obama's record. Somebody, throw out a defense by using his record, please!

    August 16, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  9. Brandon

    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.
    _______________________________________________________________________________________________

    you act like the only reason people invest in the markets is because of the Tax incentives! Those incentives go away, and so do the investors? That's utterly ridiculous. The possible quick return on investment, and opportunity for large incomes, is what draws people to investing and taking the gamble it entails. The Tax Incentives are purely that....incentives. Additional positives. Income should be taxed as income, no matter how you garner it.

    And for the people arguing Amounts, rather than % rates.....that's ridiculous. If everyone paid a "fair Share" on a percentage basis...no one can complain that they're paying more or less than the next person. From a dollar perspective, the rich would pay more than the poor....but from a percentage basis....everyone in this wonderful country is giving up the same percentage of their income, regardless of what the income may be, for the better good of our country.

    These people will donate MILLIONS to charity without batting an eyelash. But when it comes to "donating" a million or 2 to the further prosperity of the nation that provides them the ability to earn that $21million annual income.....they do everything in their power to avoid paying it. If you think someone like that should be running our country.....then more power to ya!

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

    Did he say that he retroactively paid at least 13%?

    August 16, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  11. RPE

    Hey Ray, Cuba is a small boat ride away bud...there are happy to take you in since you are so ashamed of your own country. So ashamed that you would give it away for your welfare check and free stuff.

    August 16, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  12. Oshis

    If Romney is worth 250,000,000 and paid at least 13% in taxes, he paid 32,500,000. Which means he funded the government to operate for .0000000000000000000001 seconds. DONT reply with his worth isnt taxed. I get it. Just saying It's his money and who cares what he does with it. It will not make YOU any richer or poorer.

    August 16, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  13. Cry Babies

    Is it any wonder that anyone would subject their taxes to the boneheads that represent this site??? Looking at the analysis and hatred put forth by the idiots on this blog truly makes me wonder about the mentality of the pro-Obama circus. Don't say another word Mitt...no matter what is said, these jokers will not, could not ever be satisfied. Let them self destruct in their "oh poor is me" existence.....they cannot be helped and surely cannot help themslves. @ Todd.....great read a few pages back...Thankyou.

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

    And he also used to be for gun control, access to abortion and developed Romneycare. Nothing he says on any given day can be taken at face value.

    August 16, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    Maybe he is counting state, property and vehicle taxes. Not how others would calculate it, or the bottom line on his FEDERAL form.

    August 16, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  16. Bastille Day

    How magnanimous of him to tell us that. That is still less than the rest of us who pay 28 or even 34%. One of the most amazing things about arrogant people is that they never know how arrogant their words sound to everyone else.

    August 16, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  17. eqgold

    I paid ~ 28%. For all I know Mittens paid zero.

    August 16, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  18. Save the Rich, Vote GOP

    Glad my wife and I make five figures together and pay a higher % of taxes. It sure will be nice with President Mitt cutting those awfully high taxes for the rich.

    August 16, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  19. papanez

    Mitt, I just can't take you at your word. I'm sorry, but if you had proven yourself to be up front and honest from the day you started running for President, then it would be a bit easier to accept you at your word. Sadly you have a history of not being truthful. Release those last 10 years.

    August 16, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  20. Bill S., Jacksonville, VT.

    Notice he said "I paid TAXES." He didn't say INCOME taxes. Sure he paid 13-point something %. That's the Social Security and Medicare taxes that even guys like him can't avoid paying. He could still have not paid any income taxes and not be lying when he said "I paid taxes." Pretty slimy, huh?

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

    @ ray.............truer words have never been so spoken............this IS the sad TRUTH

    Obama 2012 only way forward

    August 16, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  22. ric

    Maybe he is adding in state, local, property, and vehicle taxes–not like anyone else means, we mean our federal total.

    August 16, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  23. Investment Advisor

    Speaking of hiding somethin......Transcripts Mr. Obama? $1,000,000 worth?

    August 16, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  24. BBjoe99

    Romney's speech reminds me of South Park Saddam Hussein:

    Hey relax guy, I'm just your average Joe. Take a rest.

    Hey, relax guy. Trust me.

    August 16, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  25. Jim

    Given his past track record, we should all believe what he says. King Mittens has spoken to the unwashed.

    August 16, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
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