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. WILLARD "TAX CHEAT" RMONEY

    American People. I'm just trying to finish what Bush started. Please just ignore my obvious shady dealings (foreign accounts, shell corps, and swiss acct) and just vote for me. I paid it just all so just shut up and click my name in the voting booth. You dont need to see how I became obscenely rich. Just vote for me you scrubs. Thanks.

    August 16, 2012 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  2. WhatIsHeHiding?

    How many times did the Republicans tell Obama, "If you have nothing to hide, just show us", even after Obama released his birth certificate. But now, the silence is deafening. If Mitt doesn't show his tax returns, he is definitely hiding something.

    August 16, 2012 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  3. Silence

    That is nice, but I have never paid less than 33% and that is just the income tax. When you include property, sales, and utilities, it is much more. And I am one of the middle class. I wish I could feel confident supporting one of the two candidates, but neither one appears to have middle Americans' interest at heart. I wish Ron Paul had won.

    August 16, 2012 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  4. WILLARD "TAX CHEAT" RMONEY

    Just vote for me you scrubs. You dont need to see my paperwork. Bush repeat coming your way.

    August 16, 2012 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  5. Jake in DC

    "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."

    Ms. Streitfield, are you kidding me. So now you are proposing that Reid may have some credibility remainign if we assume he was referring to a 10 year period prior to the last 10 years? Are you kidding me!!! Is Reid paying you for this #&*$? The fact is, Reid is a hack and just about everything his says is either a outright lie or gross exageration and misrepresentation of the facts. The only person in Congress who is worse is Nancy Pelosi.

    August 16, 2012 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  6. nurseteacher

    He cannot be trusted. Just show your taxes and we may have to say you are correct. Don't show them and we will know you are lying. You are probably a felon. Received amnesty under Bush.

    August 16, 2012 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  7. BJJSChecter

    13% and he feels he is still paying too much. Wants to drop his rate and make the middle class pick up the difference. No thanks!

    August 16, 2012 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  8. Dizzle

    Romney says, romney says....

    August 16, 2012 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  9. Jim Marler

    I think it is a BIG DEAL when most Americans have to pay tax according to their income...for person with all this income and wealth..only pay 13%...something is grossly wrong.

    August 16, 2012 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  10. Lizzie

    I believe 13% is better than Tim Geithner paid NONE

    August 16, 2012 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  11. barbarianofgor

    Release the TAXES...

    I mean, are you trying to HIDE that you are a 1% er?

    On the other hand, folks, there is this tax shelter that lets a person pay $3 million and legally pay NO taxes...
    It was outed on 60 minutes in the late 90s by a country western singer =oh, and he PAID his taxes, btw= but since the Boom was full in sway it didn't generate the outrage it would today...

    August 16, 2012 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  12. Lizzie

    Parsing This, so first it was federal income tax, now it's STATE income tax, what else would you like to see. How about what % he gives to Charity.

    August 16, 2012 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  13. Jim Marler

    To Adan posting......this is such a misguided statement.....get real. How can you trust someone who doesn't pay his fair share?

    August 16, 2012 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  14. damo12345

    Adam – The American Jobs Act was what the Democrats did to try and help with this. The Republicans blocked it every step of the way.

    August 16, 2012 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  15. Flipper

    And what were the Dem's saying when Obama was asked to produce his birth certificate? Hypocrites!! Adam's post is correct. This tax stuff is a pathetic waste of time when compared to the REAL issues in America.

    August 16, 2012 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  16. Reddog

    It is time for 1%ers to take back America, once Romney is in office he will reform our taxes no reason why i should be paying more than lazy middle class unemployment slackers. Bring on tax reform and lets take America back...

    August 16, 2012 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  17. Cam Spurgeon

    If that i9s true then show your taxes.His wife said showing taxes would just provide "ammunition" and she was showing anger at all of us for asking. Show your taxes Mitt or we will consider you a liar.Listen up folks. Almodt everything he says from one day to next is a lie.

    August 16, 2012 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  18. ricke1849

    Did he commit any fraud? No
    Did he follow the rules? yes
    Who controlled Congress from 2006-2010? The Dems.
    If you don't like his tax rate, change the tax laws which you didn't in 2008-2010 when the Dems had both Chambers and the Presidency.
    Should Reid be incarcerated for forcing the IRS to give him tax data? ( Don't believe he got it from some other source.)
    YES he should be tried as a common criminal

    August 16, 2012 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  19. Lizzy10

    Hahahahahaha, is that the Republican's trying to say that Democrats are focusing on a "small" issue re: Romney's taxes? Guys, this is the same party that still believes in a "birth certificate" conspiracy, the party that said their number one priority is to defeat President Obama, not create more jobs, or get the economy back on track. Stop, you're killing me!

    August 16, 2012 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  20. matt

    Forget Romney's taxes. He wants to cut Medicare, privatize Social Security, eliminate PBS, eliminate Planned Parenthood and take millions out of US infrastructure. He has other problems to deal with.

    August 16, 2012 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  21. Shepherd

    Romney boasts that he paid 13% on the $21.7+ Million he earned. Yet that 13% is less than the 15% tax bracket of individuals making between $8,701 – $35,350 a year. Individuals that earn $388,350+ are in the 35% tax bracket. I've gotta hand it to him, he's got some serious tax shelters. Makes my tax shelter look like a fig leaf sitting beside the Taj Mahal.

    August 16, 2012 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  22. TKO

    ADAM: Let's see, reid, obama, pelosi, basically ALL of the Dems who voted FOR Obama's jobs bill, as opposed to the GOPers who voted AGAINST it. I guess you don't bother to read the newspaper, huh?

    And paying down the debt? ryan voted for every single budget busting bill put before him: the war, tarp, all of it. But I guess you can ignore that one, too, huh?

    August 16, 2012 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  23. Cyg

    this is a small issue? You are a child left behind so I guess you would say that. He paid 13% of taxes on his salary for the last several years? So did I – and I make Millions less. There is an issue there, don't you think? No? Well that is child left behind math for you, isn't it.

    August 16, 2012 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  24. Michael

    It's obvious he's scared and hiding his tax returns. Do we really want someone who has so much to hide!!!!???

    August 16, 2012 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  25. Nobama 2.0

    Why should we care about how much taxes Romney pays? That's something IRS agents paid to do. Obama is just so desperate, he will try anything to distract American voters from his own failed records.

    August 16, 2012 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
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