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. fastrack1

    Your lead said Romney was revealing more. How is this revealing? Aside from the obvious, what information does this give the voters? I thought not.

    August 16, 2012 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  2. patch vader

    His tax returns are his achiles heal. The word 'clawbacks' comes to mind

    August 16, 2012 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  3. Anthony

    Adam,
    Nobody who proposes more tax cuts and refuses to name spending cuts has any credibility on paying down the debt. It is like trying to lose weight while eating more ice cream and refusing to commit to an exercise program. Romney and Ryan have zero credibility on the debt issue.

    August 16, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  4. pat from central oregon

    So the Mittster paid 13% in taxes...wow, what a guy. This, of course, does not say anything about how many assets he is hiding overseas, but never mind that.

    He paid 13% on millions and millions of dollars in income (that we know about), and I paid 28% as a single 66 year old woman who earned less than $70,000 last year. Do you think that something is very, very wrong with our tax structure in this country? The tax structure favors the rich, those who bear way too many children, and screws the shrinking middle class. I

    August 16, 2012 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  5. mormoncandidate dot com

    Reid and Romney are both Mormons... sad sad sad... mormoncandidate dot com

    August 16, 2012 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  6. Ryan/Romney Kill Medicare Team 2012

    Mitt Romney release your taxes. What do you have to hide? $$$$$$ in offshore accounts.

    August 16, 2012 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  7. dakster

    Prove It!

    August 16, 2012 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  8. fairpol

    Why should his taxes be a concern for the country? He has been running for president before, and he has been a governor of the liberal state of MA for 4 years. He has also been the chief of SLC Olympics. It is not like he has not been vetted. He releases 2 years of tax return, which is one more than required. Jimmy Carter and George Bush releases 3 years and Gerald Ford did not even release detail returns, only summaries. McCain & Palin both files 2 years. His taxes have been audited and approved by IRS. Does Obama think he knows more about taxes than the IRS tax professionals? He just wants to use this to deflect voters' attention away from his failed record.

    August 16, 2012 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  9. dakster

    Really....Love to see the republicans actually list out what they plan to cut in order to make the budget. They have my vote if they do spell out their cuts....even if I disagree 100%....which I am positive they won't.

    August 16, 2012 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  10. clem

    Romney was CAUGHT lying to everyone when he ran for gov in MA. Said "yes I filed in both states" LIE, and was caught in a LIE.. Don't believe him on his word HE IS A LIAR....plain and simple. SHOW THE RETURNS AH

    August 16, 2012 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  11. Mark

    They do, but since the Republicans only seem interested in cutting the knees from out from the real job creators...that would be the middle class and working poor who's spending will increase the need for more workers thus creating jobs...there's really not much to discuss.

    August 16, 2012 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  12. Jack V

    Tax release or not, listening to Romney speak I can't figure out why he wants to be president. Even Nixon seemed to have a reason he wanted the job.

    August 16, 2012 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  13. PikeRover

    It's simple Mitt ...Show us ...PS I don't care how much you gave to charity ...And don't count money to your church.

    August 16, 2012 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  14. Mike

    It is called transparency Gov. Romney. If you were at Bain and investing in a company you would ask for years and years of financial statements as part of your due diligence. Now you are asking the American people to invest their vote with you. You would not do that making your investment as the head of Bain without the financial statements. The American voters deserve the same from you with your tax returns. Show us the facts Mitt so we can decide whether to invest in you.

    August 16, 2012 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  15. Please Grow Up

    How about if the republicans vote on the jobs bill. Or relief for the drought-stricken mid west?

    August 16, 2012 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  16. genebrady

    NO 1%er pays anywhere near 13%. He is a liar. If he was looking at the last 10 years of tax returns then they are accessable. SHOW THEM!!! How simple is THAT?

    August 16, 2012 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  17. BHPT

    Note how once again Mitt Romney has avoided the term "INCOME taxes." This guy needs to be PINNED DOWN – come on Media – you can do it -

    August 16, 2012 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  18. rachel

    Bottom line. i won't vote for someone who makes $20MM/yr and pays only 14% taxes.

    August 16, 2012 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  19. Michael

    He lied about his tax returns when he ran for Gov. of MA and had to "retroactively" refile his tax returns AFTER he was elected. Why does he now think that we should "just trust him"? His dodgy taxes are just the tip of the iceberg.

    August 16, 2012 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  20. John

    So he didn't pay under 13% in federal income tax these past ten years? OK, even though it's half what most Americans pay, I'd still like to see him prove it. If everything is so aboveboard, why won't he show us? What else is in those tax returns he's afraid to reveal?

    August 16, 2012 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  21. ThinkAgain: Under the Ryan Plan, Romney Pays 0.87% in taxes

    Until we actually see his returns, we have no way of verifying what Mittens is claiming. He provided 23 years of tax returns to McCain for the 2008 Repub VP slot; he can at least provide 10-12 years of returns to the American public.

    August 16, 2012 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  22. DarthVader's Mentor

    Romney responded in a very convenient way to avoid the truth. His number is an average, not an actual minimum. The could be paying 15% for a few years and even down to 0 on others.

    The two candidates ought to just stop playing games. Romney ought to be as honest as his Dad was and release all his tax returns for the last 20 years. Obama should at the same time allow 3rd parties to see the original birth certificate and allow people to see his college grades. Unitil both candidates do this, I'm not voting for either one.

    This is =n't minor stuff. This has to do with moral terpitude from both candidates. Romney's decision to keep his taxes secret sets a very dangerous precedent, and Obama's refusal to letting the birth certificate problem fester along with his collegiate credentials is just the same.

    It's bad enough that both sets of candidates bow down to the banks, at least they should get the personal lives laid out so that's not a nagging issue. Then we can work on the banks and lax regulators and find out why both candidates prefer to lie about budgets, support corrupt bankers and let big business corrupt them.

    August 16, 2012 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  23. John

    Adam, why is it a "small issue" to want to know more about Romney's income tax? After all, it is he who wants to reduce taxes on the super-wealthy by another 10%. Would that mean he'd pay only 3% total tax if it went through? His tax returns are big issue here.

    August 16, 2012 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  24. bill Davis

    When is Harry going to show his taxes

    August 16, 2012 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  25. LMB

    mm – since you asked to be corrected – the Mormon Church gives more humanitarian aid per capita all over the country and all over the world than any other religious organization, bar none. They are much better stewarts of money than our government, who loves to just waste our hard earned money.

    August 16, 2012 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
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