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. TNPatriot

    I don't believe him. Until Mitt shows us 12 years of tax returns (all of them) he hasn't a leg to stand on. Politifacts has given Romney so many 'Pants on Fire' ratings, only a billionaire could afford his Fire Insurance premiums,

    August 16, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  2. kirby

    Show us your Tax Returns Romney...!

    August 16, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  3. Adventure49

    In 2008 you paid a 13% tax on a taxable income of $40,000. Go figure.

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

    I suspect that when Romney finally reveals his full tax record, we'll find nothing illegal. For me the problem is not that he payed a much lower tax rate than I did. The problem is that he represents a class of people and the leaders of a political party that thinks it's fine for the gap between rich and poor to dramatically widen over just a few years while people with more clout help themselves to financial advantages like this one. The right wing has been picking the pockets of the middle class for years while filling their followers with lies (socialist, muslim, death panels, no budget, job creators, on and on). GOP leadership has not always been responsible for these lies, but they've certainly taken advantage of them. And now Romney is taking advantage of these lies as well.

    August 16, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  5. NYC

    Maybe he IS smart to use the tax loopholes that are already there to pay fewer taxes. However, there's a difference between doing what is legal and doing what is ethical. This man wants to be our leader – don't we have a right to hold him to a higher level of behavior? He has sent money and jobs overseas to increase his personal income, at the expense of the people he expects to vote for him. Not the behavior of someone who cares or even understands the plight of so many struggling Americans.

    August 16, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  6. ghostriter

    All the losers saying Mitt has paid what he was legally required to pay are missing the point.

    Mitt wants to lower rates folks like himself would pay on capital gains to zero. That in of itself is self serving.

    Throw in the fact that the wealthy folks have paid handsomely to have loopholes that they can enjoy.

    And yes, Obama would have changed the tax code already......except tea folks have blocked any attempts at reform.

    ALL HAIL GROVER!!!!!

    August 16, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  7. Tony in Maine

    Then what is he hiding?

    August 16, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  8. Luke,AZ

    Gov Romney loses either way, if he shows us his taxes he's toast because of all the loopholes he used and if he doesn't show us his taxes he's hiding something. Then he brings in Ryan who wants to throw my 85 year old mother over the cliff. The Vulture/Voucher guys will not get my vote, nor should they get yours.

    August 16, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  9. nobikiniatoll

    Show us your taxes, Mittens!

    August 16, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  10. CAL USA

    I've never had any doubts that he paid whatever he could get away with. That still doesn't answer two very important questions. 1) How did he manage to build his IRA balance to $100M in defiance of all the annual limits the law imposes? 2) Did he take advantage of the amnesty given a few years ago to tax cheats to encourage them to bring their money back from their foreign shelters. Come to think of it, wasn't that about the time he closed his Cayman Island accounts? I wonder, but of course he can clear it up by just releasing a few more returns. We know he has them handy, because he gave 23 of them to McCain in 2008, just before he picked Palin.

    August 16, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  11. John

    Mitt Romney not wheeling to show his last ten years of tax return ,but he say he look back on them and he pay at lease 13% In Taxes. Most people pay that much and we are not Rich. I till say he hiding something or he would show them, And we all Know he not paying any taxes on all his money he has In oversea Bank. Mitt Romney Is a man that can't be trusted.

    August 16, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  12. bbcbloger

    So that's less than 2 percent per year for the last 13 years. I knew it. The guy is tax cheater

    August 16, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  13. REG in AZ

    What is ridiculous and reeks of deception is that the Romney's keep screaming they are "pure and holy" yet they stubbornly protect the detail that would prove it. It is simple, if they have "nothing to hide", as they say so often, then it is only reasonable that they need to show that by simply releasing the tax records ... otherwise, the only logical conclusion is that they are lying and they do have a whole lot to hide!

    August 16, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  14. linda

    OK if all he paid is 13% then the rest of Americans should only have to pay 13%......this man is a lair and fraud......he doesn't represent the majority of America....he represents the rich and powerful and that is who he will look out for if he is President and the middle class will be no more we will be just like Mexico......the ultra rich and the dirt poor........

    August 16, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  15. Snippet

    Ray, Ray, Ray, Ray, Ray............Get some help... and take julie along for the ride. What a sad biased, bigoted commentary that was. I understand why you lean left. Really, get some help...it will be good to see the world with open eyes.

    August 16, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  16. Michael Meeder

    I have to show more financial history to get a simple mortgage than Mitt Romney thinks he does to be the President of the United States. Not to mention the fact that under his budget plan, he would pay less than 1% in taxes, while my effective tax rate would go up by 15%. Is this his idea of shared sacrifice?

    August 16, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  17. Iconoclast

    Release the returns Romney, otherwise just go home!

    August 16, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  18. libbie_sheep

    lets see – thats 13% on income from investments.......he made those investments with money that was already post tax.....so this 13% is on top of the tax rate that he paid the first time around. Would you libbies like more? what number would make you happy?

    August 16, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  19. Let's Make It Fair

    "if all he paid is 13% then the rest of Americans should only have to pay 13%"

    What about the 50% of Americans that pay NOTHING? Do they have to pay 13%? Seems fair to me.

    August 16, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  20. Peter

    and we should believe him becaaaaaause...?

    August 16, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  21. Chipster

    And then he says, "trust me!" I don't care how much he paid in taxes, I don't trust him. Didn't we all get a big laugh when Ann Romney said that if we would just look at their finances, we would know just how generous Mitt is! That's the point, dimwit – we can't look at your finances because you won't reveal them! Duh! Oh, and then she followed up by claiming they paid 10% to the church! Oh, wow! They paid the standard 10% that most of people give to their churches. It isn't like Mitt went above and beyond....! But I guess he neglected to tell her that.

    August 16, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  22. EPAB

    !3% of what, Mitt?? I still want to know if you took advantage of the IRS amnesty program in 2009. Because if you did you committed tax fraud, and were granted amnesty for fessing up and paying the taxes. Are you a crook, Mitt? Your 2010 return shows that you closed your offshore accounts that year. Hell of a coincidence.

    August 16, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  23. julie

    @snippet we know the TRUTH hurts.................and if you caon't see that you need to take a hike chump

    August 16, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  24. Larry L

    As a retired Soldier I pay a higher rate than 13%. I'm also not ashamed to show my tax returns because they've been honest. Americadoes not need a spoiled fat-cat as our Commander In Chief.

    August 16, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  25. Rick in AZ

    The 1% are part of the 47%.

    August 16, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
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