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. Adam

    Wow, the Democrats in office sure do know how to waste time on small issues. Does anybody want to lend some extra time to fixing unemployment or maybe paying down the debt? Anybody?... Anybody? Paul Ryan, put your hand down. I'm trying to find any Democrats who want to help with this.

    August 16, 2012 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  2. Eisener

    Mr. Romney:

    Prove to us that you did NOT take AMNESTY from IRS when they offered this to US citizens who were hiding assets in Switzerland.

    August 16, 2012 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  3. Debby

    Its become childish now about Romney's tax returns by the Dems.

    August 16, 2012 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  4. Brandon

    Adam said:

    Wow, the Democrats in office sure do know how to waste time on small issues. Does anybody want to lend some extra time to fixing unemployment or maybe paying down the debt? Anybody?... Anybody? Paul Ryan, put your hand down. I'm trying to find any Democrats who want to help with this.
    _______________________________________________________________________________________________

    Wow....you're a bright one. figuring out the tax mess, and holding people accountable for doing their Fair Share DIRECTLY correlates to "paying down the debt". If the government is missing out on billions of dollars of tax revenue via loopholes and various avoidance tactics....Billions of Annual Revenue would do a lot to paying down the debt. Right?

    Think before you speak.....

    August 16, 2012 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  5. Turbo

    wow he paid at least 13.6% for the past 10 years... I went back and looked at my taxes and I paid 39% and made a pittance in comparison to what he made, plus I worked 6 days a week! Romney = Money buying power.

    August 16, 2012 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  6. Al in TX

    In the history of the US presidency, NO president has previously been compelled to release his long form birth certificate, nor his college transcripts. Not once. Romney, notably, has released neither, yet the tea baggers keep squealing for Obama to do these things.

    On the other hand, it is absolute standard practice for all presidents and candidates to release their past tax returns. Obama and Biden released 12 years, so did Clinton and Gore. Kerry released 20 years. Its not just democrats: Bush Jr. and Cheney released 8 years, Reagan released 6 years. Go back to FDR, he released ALL his tax returns.

    Yet Romney (who is running as a 'business' candidate) feels he is special, and does not have to do what nearly everyone else has done, yet the tea baggers defend this with the same hypocritical ferocity that demand more and more releases from Obama.

    Until Romney releases his tax returns to prove he's not a liar, he's just simply a liar.

    August 16, 2012 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  7. PJ

    What about the $100 million IRA he stashed away. Prove your claims Romney.

    August 16, 2012 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  8. LittleBearFN

    Adam, The do nothing congress blocked anything the democrats tried to implement that would have fixed unemployment and better our economic situation. You can blame your own side for our stagnation. Any do you really believe Romney's word? I certainly do not. He flip flops all the time. I believe a used car salesman before I would believe Romney... It is also not all about how much taxes he paid, but also if he is gaining the system...

    August 16, 2012 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  9. Russ in Md.

    @"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'.

    I think you are over valuing the progressive liberals neocrats ( I like that word), I would say it's more like 75% that don't pay any taxes and about 50% of them get there government handout every week that people like us pay for..

    August 16, 2012 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  10. rs

    Oh, Adam- Look, the Republicans control the House and spend their days: voting to repeal the ACA, and concocting even more insane anti-birth control and anti-abortion bills (120 to date), which, will never get out of the Senate. Meanwhile zero jobs bills (as Mr. Boehner promised).
    In the Senate where the Republicans are the minority, they either filibuster EVERY SINGLE BILL AND APPOINTMENT. Thus halting all legislative activity. This is the least productive Congress since WWII (oddly, a GOP Congres then too).

    As far as paying down the debt, it is a huge MYTH that Mr. Ryan is a fiscal conservative. He supported each and every spending bill, two unfunded wars, two unfunded tax cuts for the rich, and the Medicare expansion plan under Bush. If he is a "Fiscal Conservative", the GOP can't add.

    August 16, 2012 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  11. Lisa P

    Adam

    Wow, the Democrats in office sure do know how to waste time on small issues. Does anybody want to lend some extra time to fixing unemployment or maybe paying down the debt? Anybody?... Anybody? Paul Ryan, put your hand down. I'm trying to find any Democrats who want to help with this.
    August 16, 2012 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    What would make you think Paul Ryan is interested in paying down the debt? His budget wouldn't even break even for a decade, and even then it assumes levels of employment last seen in the 1950's. Because of course the workers are expected to pay for all those things the investors profit from and enjoy - wouldn't want to tax the people with money to pay down the deficit they ran up, now would we? Of course once we defund everything but national defense the wealthy may not find so much to enjoy in Paul Ryan's dog-eat-dog world. I believe Benjamin Franklin had something to say about that...

    August 16, 2012 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  12. wiilard

    The Democrats who don't pay taxes. I think the number is upwards of 50% of them. When they all start paying their fair share then I will demand that Romney release his returns. Like he said at least 13% to the feds and upwards of 20% when you take in his contributions to charity. He doesn't need to explain anything to anyone. He has met his obligation to release what is required for him to run for president. Lets get back to the economy and jobs and not go off on a tangent to distract folks from the real problems facing this country. Joseph Goebbels would be proud of Obama and his spin machine. Distortions and lies thats how they were able to maintain power. Win at all cost and forget how important the truth is. I am an independent and voted for Obama but you can bet not this time.

    August 16, 2012 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  13. CBR

    If Mr. Romney would stop playing games and put his taxes out there he would not face constant questions about the statements. He pays that percentage on the money he has in the United States. How much does he save by having off-shore accounts and money in Swiss banks?

    You want to run for President then you need to expect all kinds of questions. You need to know that all kinds of statements will be made during the election. Mr. Romney accuses the Democrats of low blows. Ads done for him by outside groups have dealt some low blows. He does not try to curb those groups. Any way you look at it the money is being spent for his campaign and he needs to show he will put the brakes on when necessary. He cannot hide from it forever.

    August 16, 2012 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  14. Joe Schmoe

    Two Words - PROVE IT. Nuff said.

    August 16, 2012 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  15. SC

    If he has nothing to hide show taxes for the last ten years.

    August 16, 2012 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  16. Leopold

    I would be very perplexed and more disappointed than I already am in America if we let Obama in again. If we do the right thing there may be a chance for the US, but if not we had better get used to being a "have not" nation because the rest of the world (parts of Europe notwithstanding) is going to kick the daylights out of us. Don't worry I think everyone will still look to us for military intervention when required, but economically we're done.

    August 16, 2012 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  17. Joe Schmoe

    U know if a liers pants acyually caught fire – Mitt's would go super nova.

    August 16, 2012 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  18. difoderit

    Wow, the Democrats in office sure do know how to waste time on small issues. Does anybody want to lend some extra time to fixing unemployment or maybe paying down the debt? Anybody?... Anybody? Paul Ryan, put your hand down. I'm trying to find any Democrats who want to help with this.
    -------------------------–
    Hey Adam – do you recall for the last 3.95 yrs your ilk screaming about this little thing called a birth certificate? oh and by the way any repbulicans want to do what they were elected to do (and promised jobs jobs jobs) sign a fricken jobs bill Anybody?... Andybody? Oh put your hand down Mr. Obama although the repukes say everything is your fault we the people actually can see through the BS of where the problem lies!

    August 16, 2012 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  19. gg

    hey romney you don't have to tell us what you see or think in your tax return..just prove it.

    August 16, 2012 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  20. gregor1971

    ROMNEY HAS NOT BEEN DRAWING A SALARY SINCE EARLY 1999. He did not take compensation for turning around the Olympics, he did not take a salary for being the governor of Massachusetts. That takes him though 2007,and from 2008 and on he was was working on a volunteer basis to help other state-level campaigns around the country. He is paying capital gains taxes. In the 1990's when he was drawing a salary, his taxes were obviously higher. Truth is, he was a public servant without taking compensation.

    August 16, 2012 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  21. LMD

    Romney's income tax of 13.9 % of taxable income or $3,000,000 was determined by the Internal Revenue Code enacted by Congress and administered by the IRS. We should all focus on what the candidates are saying about federal policies and not what % paid of taxable income which is determined by the Internal Revenue Code enacted by Congress and administered by the IRS.

    August 16, 2012 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  22. Mark

    I know that I a whitecolloar worker have paid more than a mer 13% in taxes why wont Romney relese more tax returns he must be hiding something GO Obama!

    August 16, 2012 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  23. Mada

    Its opposite day.

    Wow, the Republicans in office sure do know how to waste time on small issues. Does anybody want to lend some extra time to fixing unemployment or maybe paying down the debt? Anybody?... Anybody? President, put your hand down. I'm trying to find any Republicans who want to help with this.

    OPPOSITE DAY!

    August 16, 2012 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  24. Montana

    Prove it!! Show us your taxes.

    August 16, 2012 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  25. Julius Raynor

    Romney your are hiding something and the american people know it!

    August 16, 2012 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
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