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. cleareye1

    At least he could clarify his claim by saying he paid 13% Federal income taxes. He may mean all taxes; sales, property, state income taxes, Swiss bank taxes, Cayman Island deposit taxes, etc.
    He should show us the proof or he should back down now and give the party an opportunity to put up a fight in the election.

    August 16, 2012 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  2. FinnGoDo

    @Adam and the Republicans in office sure know how to waste our time abusing filibusterer and blocking any piece of legislation that would get this economy going. Nice try.

    August 16, 2012 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  3. marinedad05

    Quick the returns, the returns, Mitt.

    How long will you balk.

    August 16, 2012 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  4. mdbill

    so release your returns like everybody else does. what's the problem bud? if you have nothing to hide and what you say is true, well you've gone this far, might as well go the distance.

    August 16, 2012 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  5. dscon

    why has obama "not" fixed these corporate loopholds?
    he's had 4 yrs of WHAT?

    August 16, 2012 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  6. truth

    Mitt Romney is a MADE member of the Wall Street Mafia and he thinks we're stupid enough to believe a thug like him without proof? Oh please, that "trust me y'all, i'm morman" can take a long walk off a short pier!!!!!!!!

    August 16, 2012 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  7. ptw

    Wow...when a candidate has to fight to convince people that he actually paid 13% in taxes on his millions you know he's pretty much screwed. 13% is supposed to be an embarassing amount that shows the problem with the tax system and how the rich get away with everything, and not something to brag about.

    August 16, 2012 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  8. Howie76

    How much time was spent on the, "Birth Certificate" ?

    August 16, 2012 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  9. Mario

    There is only one way to know if he is lying or not and I'm betting that he is lying. Its simple release your taxes and stop hiding like a coward. Own up to everything you've done.

    August 16, 2012 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  10. KP

    Well if a presidential candidate (anywhere on the political spectrum) says it, it must be true!!

    August 16, 2012 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  11. FlotsamJetsam

    wow great tax shelters if you can get them. So if Ryan gets his way Mitt will be paying even less. Something still seems wrong here, this issue is not going away unless Mitt releases his tax returns. Four years ago Mitt was running, why didn't he release his returns then, There is more than enough justification to do it especially since you claim we need to revamp the tax code. You need more transparency Mitt.

    August 16, 2012 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  12. KUTA

    Romney - Beneficiary of Corporate Welfare and Tax Relief.

    August 16, 2012 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  13. GaryB

    13%. It's good to be rich. As a small business owner (who, like most small business owner is nowhere near rich) I pay more than that (15.3%) in just self-employment tax, and then I pay federal tax on top of that. But that's the beauty of passive income, When you earn dividends and capital gains of investments from your inherited income, you actually pay taxes at a lower rate than someone who actually has to get off their behind and work for a living.

    August 16, 2012 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  14. rocinante

    13% is still way below the lowest wage tax rate, even for a poverty level earner. He's paying a lower tax rate than all the people he fired to ship their jobs to China.

    August 16, 2012 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  15. carik scott

    No different than the time spent on the ridiculou nonsene over the birth certificate Get real if every other presidential candidate, including his father, released 11 or more yearsm who does this man and his arrogant wife think they're kidding He's running for president, the Amerian people have a right to know if he's ethical Cough up those returns Mitt

    August 16, 2012 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  16. RDA

    Adam: There are PLENTY of Democrats, starting with the president, who would love to fix the economy and increase employment and pay down the debt. You seem to forget that the Republicans won't let them do it. But then again, I long ago gave up on any right-winger admitting the slightest responsibility for his party's humongous role in the downfall of our country. It's always the Democrats' fault. Even when the Bush tax cuts are still in place, even when Mitch McConnell freely admits that his party's number one goal is not to fix what GW Bush and Cheney destroyed, but to make sure Obama is a one-term president (Why? So another GOPer can come in and do even worse than the Bushies?), even when the GOP threatens to let the credit rating of the country crash in a mad Ahab way just to humiliate the president, and even when Republican obstructionism runs totally rampant - you can always count on the right to blame the Dems for their own misdeeds. Where did that personal responsibility ethos of yours run off to? Or was it always a sham?

    August 16, 2012 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  17. Indieasian

    I paid 28% in taxes last year and I make a lot less than Romney (about just less than 250k). Before that, I made less and paid 20% income taxes. Totally something wrong with that. I don't mind paying my share, rather, it's infuriating that HE is complaining about 13% taxes and that the rich get taxed too much. Only if 'the rich' is me and not the really rich.

    August 16, 2012 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  18. Reggie from LA

    That's not true. I listened very carefully to what Reid said. His word were "Word's out that Romney hasn't paid Taxes in 10 years." Still possible. Whatever, lets talk about 13%. So while I've been paying 35%, the very rich man pays less than half of what most of us pay. What a ripoff. Remember the words of Leona Helmsley. "Paying taxes is for the little people." Guess that'd be most of us, then left millions to her dog. Remember, our president has offered to pay his fair share, but apparently the tax dodger doesn't believe in fair share. Vote for him. Go on. You know you want to.

    August 16, 2012 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  19. Sashatree

    Just a "simple minded" citizen here.....a 50 yr old Republican..... one who isn't going to believe a WORD this guy has to say until he comes clean with the voters about his taxes. PROVE YOUR CLAIMS, MITT! RELEASE THE TAX RETURNS OR SHUT YOUR PIE HOLE!! Your wife has already made it very clear. There's a lot of stuff in there that will kill your chances of ever being elected again - not even for town dog catcher!!!!! (Oh,well you already shot yourself in the foot when it comes to getting ANY job involving dogs already, haven't you?!?)

    August 16, 2012 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  20. uysfl

    so the average joe pays over 20% and he brags about paying 13 and we are supposed to vote republican why again? it's like hearing exxon whine about making 7 cents per gallon but posting 125 billion dollar profit.

    August 16, 2012 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  21. Michael

    Here is a Democratic hand in the air for Adam. I make just slightly over $100,000/year and even after maxing out my employers 401k, taking my home interest deduction and taking ALL deductions allowable by law I'm paying 21% federal. I don't even want to talk about the 9% state tax tacked on but CA is my home state where I'm also putting two boys thru college. I don't have $200mil sitting in investments and sitting around clipping 1099DIV coupons every year unfortunately.....and if I did I might be down at 13% with Mitt. If Paul Ryan had his way and could twist Mitt's arm all 1099DIV income would be a 0% tax which would put the tax delta between Mitt and me from an 8% difference to at least 20%. That's exactly what we need, a fair and balanced approach to the tax system. If Mitt goes down to 0%....now we're really making progress to paying down that national debt. I have a hard time not laughing at all of this while the tax burden falls directly on the shoulders of me and those just like me.

    August 16, 2012 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  22. rep

    Don't worry Mitt. We trust you on everything. You've always been so honest, forthright, and consistent. Now here's my entire paycheck for you to give to millionaires of your choosing so that I will prosper.

    August 16, 2012 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  23. vp

    Republicans caused the High Unemployment and the High Debt.
    They have no intention of fixing it.

    August 16, 2012 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  24. Barry

    @Adam

    Yeah... It's only his tax record which would show if he's honest and fair in his financial dealings or not. It's not something important like his birth certificate or anything. How long was wasted on that little slip of paper?

    August 16, 2012 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  25. ironman59

    That goes over well with people that struggle to make $30-40,000 a year and paying 30% in taxes. The excuse about "what i give to charity" is garbage. Almost all of it goes to supporting his religion and all of it's waste. There is no reason that he can't pay the same as everyone else in terms of percentage especially when his money is made putting other people out of business.

    It is just another sign as to how far out of touch the gop is with the average American.

    August 16, 2012 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
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