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. BigdaddyUSA

    Strange how Romney wanted 10 years tax returns for his VP choices but he only releases 1 year.

    August 16, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  2. leftywriteagain

    Romney is a con artist.

    August 16, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  3. Prince Albert

    Notice that he never says "income taxes" only that he "paid taxes of no less than 13%" Thirteen percent of what? We all pay taxes. Gas tax, property tax, etc. He has never said "I paid 13% in income tax in 2009". When he gets caught he's going to spin that 13% into how much tax OVERALL he paid for his general expenses.

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

    Romney is a poster child for why we need to get rid of all the tax credits and have tax brackets that are taxed at fixed rates with no way of getting below the tax rate of the bracket you fall within

    August 16, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    "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?"

    You chose the wrong pill, junior. That's how taxes work. I pay the grocery store $1 for something and it included sales tax. Grocery store pays tax on their income and pays out pitiful minimum wages. Employees pay tax on their pitiful minimum wages and then go buy something at the grocery store for $1...AND SO ON AND SO FORTH. It is inherent in the system. The absolute nonsense and logical failure of complaining about double-taxing and such is a ruse to get the weak minded and gullible outraged over taxes working the way taxes are supposed to work and have always worked. They can, in fact, work no other way.

    August 16, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  6. Bob

    HA! Democrats you are looking worse and worse by the minute with this liar Harry Reid.

    August 16, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  7. AB

    I suspect this statement is about as true as when he said he had filed returns as a resident of MA during his Olympic time, yet it bears out that he did not!

    August 16, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  8. Cap Gain Changes Do Matter

    SNIFFIT

    "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."

    Do you speak from experience here? Or just conjecture? No investor or entrepreneur (including myself) I know approaches a business investment from that perspective? There is a risk/reward determination you have to make at the start of any investment, and if the potential reward is reward is reduced then the risk you will take is also reduced.

    Secondly, there is a big difference between how capital gain increases aftfect current millionaires and first-time entrepreneurs. Raising capital gains keeps first-time entrepreneurs in their current jobs.

    August 16, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  9. sassysticks53

    Then why don't you show us your tax returns Romney? Not taking your word. You've already proven you're a liar.

    August 16, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  10. Chipster

    ghostriter said: "Mitt wants to lower rates folks like himself would pay on capital gains to zero. That in of itself is self serving. " But I would add that Paul Ryan's plan will repeal the Affordable Care Act which will allow him and all other members of the House and Senate to continue to enjoy taxpayer funded health care. Otherwise the ACA will force them to have their own insurance plans beginning January 1, 2014. Maybe we should call the ticket. Self-Serving One and Self-Serving Too!

    August 16, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  11. bracey

    my question is how many of you on here complaining about his paid taxes actually pay federal taxes? He gave somewhere between 7-10% of his income to charity how many of you do that? And yes he uses the tax loop holes howmany of you do that (mortgage deductions, child credits, day care credits, travel reimbursement, etc.). The answer is no, no, and YES probably, Now what happens to all of these charities that receive the 7-10% income deductions from all of these terrible "1%" monsters such as Mitt Romney?when those loop holes are closed the answer is more people on government aid. How about give the guy a little credit for donating 7-10% of his income because he knows that the non-profit charity he is giving his money to knows how to productively use that money better and more efficient than the government. Would you agree with assumption? Who wants to waste their money throwing it to the "social blanket" that the liberals have created. How much money is enough heck let's go to the France model andtax at 75% rates let's take it all!!!!

    August 16, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  12. sayer

    Trust me, I'm a business man. LOL!

    August 16, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  13. Suzanne

    Read the headline, folks....."Romney says....." Like we should just 'give it up' and believe what he says. Really? I don't think so! Real returns, please, Mitt! No returns = no vote! Simple enough.

    August 16, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  14. Dan

    Just because Willard said so makes it the Truth.Must be the Magic Panties.Where do they sell those?

    August 16, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  15. Squigman

    The only way Romney, wins is if the educated among us fail to vote.

    August 16, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  16. Pete

    Sounds like a GE deal on taxes to me,remember no taxes paid last year but billions in profits ,nice ha!!So Romney still won't show his past taxes.How many did Ryan show him to get the vp job,10,15 years,what a hypocrite and you delushional republican idiots want them for your next leaders,you better go and get your head examined,that's all I got to say nitwits!!

    August 16, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  17. bracey

    I would like to see what President Obama's "net worth" was before he took office and what it is right now. I bet that old savings account has increased a whole lot more than his yearly salary. RELEASE YOUR INCOME INFORMATION OBAMA!!!!

    August 16, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  18. Larry

    Don't forget, this man is asking for my vote. I will not accept "Trust me" for an answer to his showing his taxes. I want to see if he is honest and more important ETHICAL! Would you accept only the statement of "I beat you, I won" from someone you are playing poker with? No, you want to see his hand. Mitt, SHOW ME YOUR TAXES!

    August 16, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  19. Floridian

    I didn't make enough to buy his wife's horse feed last year and my income tax was more than 13%

    August 16, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  20. Mitt Romney

    Ha ha, what are you going to do if I DON'T release them? Get Newt back? Feel the burn, GOP. I am your new face!

    August 16, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  21. ckerst

    Release the paperwork and prove it. You're a politician, nobody believes anything you say, prove it.

    August 16, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  22. FLIndependent

    @Free Speech Zone – "FLIndependent...uh, have you contributed anything to charity?? Other than your opinions on comment sections like this one?? I didn't think so...but girl scout cookies do count as charity, so you may be good."
    __________________________
    Really not sure why you targeted me on this...I didn't post anything regarding contributions to charity and your comment is a bit silly. Like most posters on here I said that 13% was low considering Mittens makes millions.

    August 16, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    First to the commenter who said that the 13% was his social security and medicare taxes - not quite. Those taxes only go on earned income, not investment income. Also, why is he adding in the amount he donated to charities and saying that brings his tax rate up to 20% - donations to charities are tax deductions and lower your tax rate. They are voluntary and not the same as taxes. I donate to charities also and don't take a tax deduction because it probably wouldn't pay since most of the time it is cheaper to use the standard deduction rather than itemize. Because of that, I usually don't even keep records of my donations.

    August 16, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  24. "If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen." --B. Obama

    This is fun reading all the comments from the hate filled left winged fundamentalist progressive neocrats. Half of you probably don't pay taxes anyway, you just want your 'fair share'.

    August 16, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  25. surf4sun

    Dear Mitt,
    Does that 13% include all taxes (state, property, etc.) or just federal income taxes?
    Did you or your wife participate in the amnesty program of the 2009 IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program?
    Yes or No will suffice.
    Thank you.

    August 16, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
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