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. Evn

    Wow – "at least 13%". I' make nowhere near what Rommey makes, and my marginal tax rate (the actual amount paid relative to total taxable income after all allowable deductions and credits) for federal taxes is always higher than that.
    Chances are good that your rate is too.

    No wonder Rommey doesn't want to release tax returns. If he shows us those it will clearly demonstrate that this guy has about as much in common with ordinary Americans as a Martian.

    August 16, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  2. Pander Bear

    Wow, he's quite the patriotic American. *rolls eyes*

    August 16, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  3. Raymond

    He says X, Y and Z. Now prove it. Release your returns for public scrutiny! To not do so is un-American.

    August 16, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  4. SeattleMM

    13 percent? Oh, well then......

    That stacks up great against my 25% tax rate with a LOT less income, and it makes everythng okay.
    Keep talking, Mitt. You'll never, ever be able to dig yourself out of that hole!

    August 16, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  5. Zon

    Sure, Governor. We trust you. There's just this little thing about verify. Until you do release your returns I have to believe Senator Reid.

    August 16, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  6. Etch-A-Sketch Mitt RobMe Hood Out-sourcing-Jobs Outsourcing-his-Money and Outsourcing America

    First question in the debate!!!

    When the interviewer ask the candidates to question each other, President Obama should ask Mr. Romney this one question: "Did you receive TAX PAYER AMNESTY?

    Mr Romney, lying will say "NO!" with indignation!
    President Obama, would then proceed and show AMERICA those secret TAX RETURNS mitt robme has been hiding!

    AMERICA. Debate Over!!!!!.............MITT ROBME DID NOT PAY TAXES IN 10YRS. PROVEN TO BE A TAX CHEAT DRAFT DODGING OUTSOURCER-IN-CHIEF!!!!

    REAGAN SAYS, TRUST AND VERIFY............NOT WITH MITT ROBME HOOD!!!!

    August 16, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  7. Kansas Farmer

    Wow, count the charity and you paid more than a whopping 20%. Plus, the money you give your cult shouldn't count as charity.

    August 16, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    HE SAID SHE SAID. The documents speak for themselves. Release them, coward.

    August 16, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  9. Reginald

    What is Romney hiding abt his tax receipts. It sure luks fishy to me. Yet, he is basing his whole economic policies on people paying taxes. Hypocrisy at its peak.

    August 16, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    Docs speak for themselves. Let THEM do the talking.

    August 16, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  11. dfeaster

    Trust me? I dont think I can trust you. Just release the tax records.

    August 16, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  12. EX Republican

    I dont believe one word Romney say he is a big liar. Why want he show them taxes.
    I believe he hidding something.

    August 16, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  13. Nathan

    Me: "Hi, I make $2,000,000 a year. Can I have a gigantic loan please?"

    Bank: "Excellent, we just need some proof of your income for the past few years"

    Me: "Sorry, I don't want to provide those, you should trust me though"

    Bank: *click*

    August 16, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  14. escher7

    Yes, 1.2% for 10 years adds up to 13%.

    August 16, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  15. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Not good enough liar. Release your taxes!!!

    August 16, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  16. Governor 47th In Job Creation (Excluding Off-shored to China and India)

    Shall we take his word for it? NOPE.
    He needs to show us the returns, all 12 years worth going back to when he"retired" from Bain.
    Willard's word cannot be trusted as solid proof; having seen what he did in MA and this year alone, we know he's a serial liar about his taxes...and why can't he release returns from when he was running in 2008....what's changed??
    He needs to release the papers proving this claim of never less than 13%, or get out, or get blown out.
    What year(s) was at 13%? Why would releasing his taxes provide "ammunition" to the opponents? Obama's and Biden's returns are out there, why can't Willard Robmey Hood use them for ammunition? By his and Ann's own admission, there must be things in there that will not go over well with voters. Why can't he be half the man his father was? It all comes down to him being a pathetic wimp
    What's he hiding? Put up or shut up. This issue will dog him until he comes clean or gets destroyed in November.

    August 16, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  17. Florida Mom

    Notice he didn't say Income taxes. I just don't think he's telling the truth. Show us the returns Mr. Romney. The last 10 years would be great. That way we can see when you left Bain, how many swiss and other off shore accounts you have. Respect the American public and tell us the truth.

    August 16, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  18. ChristopherM

    That amount doesn't go up to 20% when charity is considered. The charity in question is his cult. So let's see, we're not supposed to talk about his business record, or his taxes. We're not supposed to talk about the fact that government handouts are bad unless he uses them to pay for his "successful" Olympics. I'm sure he won't want to talk about how under him, Massachusetts was 47th in the nation in job creation. What exactly are we allowed to talk about, Mittens?

    August 16, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  19. Jewels

    From my perspective, it boils down to this - If Romney were elected the middle class taxes would increase, the people of high wealth would get lower taxes, and we'd have less regulations and oversight take place with corporate abuse/wall street. I don't believe that Romney/Ryan are really going to look out for those trying to recover from the recession - and am not convinced with trickle down. Romney seems like the greedy folk that led us to where we are now. Andthe, even if this is true about him paying 13% in taxes, it doesn't excuse his secrecy - and something he doesn't want to be public. Rather, just reenforces the sense that he's a shady business man.

    August 16, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  20. BLKMANinAmerica

    Whatever.......................show US already.

    August 16, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  21. Dave

    Right. Sure Mitt. We trust you. Why would a multi-hundred millionaire lie about what he paid in taxes? Couldn't possibly be any questionable deductions, now could there?

    August 16, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  22. Rupublican supporter of President Obama

    That is an added number - 13% in total for 10 years. Unless he shows up the unaltered tax returns he is not telling the truth.

    Why is this information such a secret anyway? Release them and be done with it.

    August 16, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  23. Jewels

    Correction reinforces...

    August 16, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  24. LOL

    LIAR!! I've seen the Romney taxes and he paid ZERO! Prove I didn't. One year he even applied for EIC for one of his kids!!!

    August 16, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  25. shep

    For the love of God, release the returns. Solve the problem.

    August 16, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
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