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. Carla

    We can all say what we want but until he produces the paperwork, he is not to be believed.

    August 16, 2012 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  2. Paul

    Not much left to say.

    August 16, 2012 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  3. BR

    13%!!! I make $45,000 a year my tax rate is higher than that. To Adam. . . Maybe if people of Romney's caliber paid there share of taxes are deficit would not be so bad. You also call out the democrats but don't forget which party put us in debt with this war. Mr. Bush started the downward spiral not Obama!!

    August 16, 2012 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  4. Berry Dingle

    23,000,000 unemployed, 8+% unemployment, $16 Trillion in debt, and this is what the lib left is running their campaign on? How successful has Mitt Romney been in the private sector? Exactly how many millions did he pay in taxes? This is why Obama and his success police left are going to lose in a landslide.

    August 16, 2012 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  5. joebiden

    Obama has NO PLAN for the economy except letting it fail. His only idiotic idea is to raise taxes which will barely make a dent in the trillion dollar deficit he has racked up. This is what happens when you let a community organizer with ZERO experience become the president of the United States.

    August 16, 2012 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  6. Earl

    Wow, I pay 25% from my social security check of $2,000 and you pay 13% on how many millions. Sound like a fair trade to me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I give 15% charity of a few thousand and you give 20% of a few million. Sounds fair to me!!!!
    Sure glad I'm a democrat. Crazy but not stupid.....

    August 16, 2012 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  7. thomas

    Prove IT

    August 16, 2012 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  8. james

    Yes ? but why not show the other dirty tricks ?

    August 16, 2012 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  9. Timothy

    Hey!!! 13 percent of my income was taxxed in the last ten years, Im not going to provide any proof that this is true but do you really think that I'm the type of guy who would lie to you?

    August 16, 2012 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  10. Csllaw

    Wait! I'm really confused is that supposed to be a good number? Is 13% in taxes a fair amount for someone who generates the type of income he does. I read that the average American male pays 12.6%, with a median salary of approximately 45k. Help me out here!

    August 16, 2012 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  11. Randy

    What do you mean, small issues, Adam? You can't face the fact that Romney is the king of outsourcers, but you want to blame Democrats. It is guys on the right who want to use the tax system to enrich themselves, buy elections, send jobs overseas, engage in sham transactions to avoid taxes and other scams but you blame the Democrats. Paying down the debt? I wonder if you shot your mouth off when GW Bush was in office and ran up the debt paying for a war that we will be paying for the next fifty years. I think the next thing Paul Ryan will be going after is the servicemen and women, asking them to pay for their own medical care and cutting their pensions. Go post on Fox where someone actually might care what you have to say.

    August 16, 2012 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  12. Bob

    13 percent......No wonder I hate the rich and GOP. Yep elect them so they can save the rich even more

    August 16, 2012 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  13. jcc

    you mean like asking for a birth certificate...how fast people forget?

    August 16, 2012 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  14. marinedad05

    @ betterdays:

    The president made no such remark. Read the last sentence in the column again, he never said Romney's forfeited his rights to keep his returns secret. And if you notice, so far he has kept it secret.

    " he has forfeited the right to have us take him just at his word.".

    Reading is fundamental.

    August 16, 2012 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  15. Jim

    What "Records"?

    August 16, 2012 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  16. TomCom

    Years and years waisting Obama's time on the birth certificate. Now Americans want to see what Romney is hiding.
    Romney, what are you hiding?

    August 16, 2012 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  17. jim atmad

    13% of what? ZERO? What kind of taxes? He still hasn't said that he's paid Federal Income Taxes. I'm guessing he's counting sales taxes on his Cadillacs.

    The more Mr Romney talks, the deeper the hole he digs himself into.

    August 16, 2012 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  18. Matt

    Misleading headline on CNN homepage. and no one who makes under 100,000 a year pays more than 13 in real taxes. remember the tax rate and the actual rate is very different, ESPECIALLY for low income earners.

    August 16, 2012 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  19. Steve

    Wow, regardless of what party affiliation anyone is; I sure would like to only pay 13% of my money on taxes. I've been in the 25-28% bracket for as long as I can remember and my wife and I combined make 150K a year.....doesn't he make like millions?

    August 16, 2012 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  20. Bob

    A small issue is a VP making a statement that meant nothing and the GOP going on and on and on....until of course they do the same. Again

    August 16, 2012 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  21. Rhonda Rahn

    Prove it. Show us the tax returns.

    August 16, 2012 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  22. Patrish

    13% That's about what I pay and I only make $28,000 a years. How'd he do that???

    August 16, 2012 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  23. ira2

    just wish the majority of american are not that too stupid enough to elect romney this november.

    August 16, 2012 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  24. Dustie

    Voting for Romney-Ryan! I'm sick of the Democrats and the Liberals and their distractions. I'm more worried about Obama's past associations with domestic terrorists like Bill Ayers and his socialist/communist leanings, his failed domestic economic policies and the secretiveness of the Obama Administration, and add to that his lack of leadership and knowledge to help this country. He seems to alienate our allies and suck up to our enemies.

    August 16, 2012 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  25. joebiden

    Obama has NO PLAN for the economy except letting it fail. His only idea is to raise taxes which will barely make a dent in the trillion dollar deficit he has racked up. This is what happens when you let a community organizer with ZERO experience become the president of the United States.

    August 16, 2012 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
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