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. e

    Oh wow, his tax rate goes all the way up to half of what everyone else pays... Is that supposed to be better?

    August 16, 2012 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  2. john vance

    Why doesn't he just throw this stuff out there. As long as it's legal, nobody cares but the hard cores and everybody knows how they'll vote anyway. This is just an irritation to the undedicideds and it makes him look elitist (or maybe a lttle shady). Holding this back is nothing but downside for him. Who does he have as advisors?

    August 16, 2012 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  3. Texas GOP

    Mitt needs to put his tax returns on the table. What is he trying to hide? I'm a Republican and he needs to get this behind unless he didn't pay any taxes.

    August 16, 2012 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  4. Dant

    Romney paid a lower % than I did, and I don't make all that much. Great.

    August 16, 2012 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  5. John Tucker

    I bet he included sales tax. Evader.

    August 16, 2012 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  6. TAK

    Where's the beef? Probe it Mitt, you have flip-flopped so much on everything that you've said that we can't be sure what's true and what isn't. Show us the returns!!!!!

    August 16, 2012 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  7. greg

    If Romney would release his tax returns just like every past candidate running for president the media would not talk about it.

    August 16, 2012 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  8. IRS Investigator

    Still no proof from Romney.

    SHOW US THE SECRET TAX RETURNS, MITT!!!

    August 16, 2012 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  9. SC

    Dear Adam: We're trying to elect a President. Since he is a human being, his character, his morals, his ethics, and his behavior are all relevant to making a judgment. Uh, what don't you get?

    August 16, 2012 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  10. Col. SV

    @Adam and any republican complainers look how much work House republicans getting done. They want to waste time on Healthcare (settled by supreme court) and every other ideological issue ..but nothing on jobs or anything of substance. Have u looked into approval rating of House recently (of which Ryan is part)..its 14.7%. Thats them probably voting for themselves. Get a life..I have paid 100% taxes in past 10 yrs and i will not show you the paperwork. But just believe me because i am so true and always right DUH

    August 16, 2012 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  11. Dr Matrix

    I wish I only had to pay 13% instead of 28-31%.

    August 16, 2012 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  12. smarty

    Romney paid a 13% tax over the last ten years. His 401K is worth 100,000,000 dollars, his effective tax rate is a joke, and he wants to be my president? This guy has no clue what it is like to be normal person.

    August 16, 2012 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  13. JenniePCChiang

    President Obama’s and Democrats’ argument is if Mr. Mitt Romney paid fair share of his Taxes. The argument here has nothing to do with if Mr. and Mrs. Romney pay our taxes,” “We are absolutely — beyond paying our taxes, we also give 10 percent of our income to charity or Mrs. Romney claimed that she and her husband had been “very transparent to what’s legally required of us”. I am an accountant that I do know that there are many loop-holes in our tax law for supper wealthy but that is not President Obama’s and Democrats’ argument.

    If Mr. Romney wants to be elected, then, he should not avoid President Obama’s and Democrats’ legitimate arguments and Mr. Romney should not be interpreted as unfair attacks on his personal wealth.

    I will analyze the strengths and weaknesses of President Obama and Mr. Romney as well as who will be elected immediately after the first presidential debate.

    August 16, 2012 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  14. Brian

    I estimate that after 25 years of hard, honest work, I have made .005% of what Romeny made the past 10 years, yet I paid a 22% tax rate. That would be okay of he did not advocate tax cuts for billionaires. Republicans are shameless.

    August 16, 2012 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  15. AJ

    Greed always comes back to haunt you!

    August 16, 2012 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  16. JD

    Really Adam? How many years has the birther debate been going on? Why should we believe Romney for what he says? Release the returns and then we'll know what to believe.

    I guess killing off the old people would be a great way to boost employment for Paul Ryan.

    August 16, 2012 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  17. sharon dardine

    Has anybody looked at Timothy Geithner's recent tax returns. Just sayin! What percentage of income did Obama and Biden pay?

    August 16, 2012 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  18. lefty avenger

    So Mitt the Corporate Oligarchy Banking Master pays just 13% in Income taxes while the rest of us Working Stiffs have to pay 15-20%? Mitt is the system, the system is rigged.

    August 16, 2012 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  19. TPF

    When you have people with low standards like Harry Reid and Joe the loser Biden. it's not a surprise why this country is in the shape it's in.

    August 16, 2012 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  20. MATTHEW FERRARA

    The voters in this country need to wake up. The President can't run on his own record so he is trying to disctract the voters by all this bull. He is running a pure smear campaign because he has no other basis for himself.

    August 16, 2012 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  21. Rick Rezac

    Everyone in America should ask their reps or say, I want to pay the same taxes as "YOU" pay!

    August 16, 2012 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  22. demsrule

    I'm so happy that intelligent Americans are not swayed by smoke screens that Romney seem to blow consistently. He has no plans and expect us to buy in to the Paul Ryan add on to draw the attention away from himself and his many short comings. Republicans have become so arrogant and disconnected and could care less about Americans. And as long as people like Romney can get bought by the highest bidders, then the GOP will never recover from their tarnished image. I never though I'd see the day when a congress, Republican or Democrat, would sink so low in the national approval ratings. Thanks to this dysfunctional GOP led congress, history now has a poster child example for what not to do when so many lives are at stake!

    August 16, 2012 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    Small issues like what:? A birth certificate?

    August 16, 2012 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  24. Mark in Atlanta

    Ok. So prove it, Mitt. It's what you do when you want to be President. Just like your dad said.

    August 16, 2012 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  25. Mark

    Gov. Romney, the only way you can prove them wrong is to release your 10 year taxes.. By you saying thatyou pay 10 years worth of taxes wouldn't solve the problem..So my advise to you Gov. Romney is that please RELEASE your Taxes for the American people to see.

    August 16, 2012 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
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