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. ricorio

    Hey Adam if it's such a non-issue why doesn't he just SHOW THEM! As for anyone wanting to get the nation back to work talk to your Repukes and ask them why they keep filabustering. Friggin posters like you should know the facts before you open your mouth. As for paying down the debt I wonder how YOU will feel when the Paul Ryan budget cuts Medicaid by ONE TRILLION dollars rather than getting the elite to pay their fair share. Dumb....just plain dumb.

    August 16, 2012 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  2. more2bits

    That's what's wrong with this country is that the super rich get by with lower tax rates than those who make $50,000 a year to $250,000 a year. The middle class is screwed all the time by the Dems and the Reps. That's why the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and eventually it will lead to class warfare.

    August 16, 2012 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  3. Joe

    "Since there is substantial reason to doubt his claims, we have a simple message for him: prove it," Obama campaign "

    Well, perhaps they should prove otherwise???

    August 16, 2012 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  4. joe

    Send this guy home

    August 16, 2012 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  5. jaron

    Hey Adam... My hand is up. I paid 30% last year. Maybe if you stopped listening to these crooks, got your head out of your ass and realized that they use false connections like the church or "way of life" to connect to you, you might realize that you have nothing in common with the GOP politician. Nothing. They make waaaayyyyyyy more than you. their laws are created so that they only pay 13% on what they didnt hide offshore! why do you vote against your own interests???? WHYYYYYYYY????

    August 16, 2012 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  6. Alex

    Right...13% on how much of his income is the real question.

    August 16, 2012 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  7. Mike

    This guy is a joke! I can't believe the race is even close.

    August 16, 2012 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  8. ruben

    13%. Us in the middle class pay 35 -50%. HIs extra to charity is the morman church which mandates that all church members pay 10% of thier income to the morman church. Typical repsonse of teh rich , i pay 10% you pay 35% and were vene, The rich get richer and us midle class pay more and more...

    August 16, 2012 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  9. John

    Romney – I paid 13% taxes. Just believe me on this o.k.?

    August 16, 2012 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  10. Rodney in Dallas

    Is that per year or a total of 13% over 10 years?

    August 16, 2012 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  11. Chuck

    So let me get this straight? Romney makes literally thousands of times what I make, pays a lower tax rate than me, wants to raise my taxes to pay for more tax cuts for him, and THAT'S supposed to make me want to vote for him?

    August 16, 2012 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  12. SierraShoo

    Thats just Eagle-scout phenomenal How about the rest of us (homeowners, paying for college tuitions, etc.) that would be considered "upper middle"? 21% plus ATM taxes every single year. $70K+ in taxes last year alone.. Income too high to qualify for most student assistance. And, yes, we've been to a couple of tax advisors that just shrug their shoulders and say "well..." I'm supposed to be impressed here?

    August 16, 2012 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  13. Tax Man

    Romney gets bashed for being rich and minimizing his tax burden as much as legally possible. I ask you, wouldn't you do the same if the law allowed it? It's the tax code that allows this to happen. Get the tax code changed to prevent hiding money overseas and all the other tax "schemes" Romney takes part in. His tax strategies don't help his campaign, but who can blaim the guy for doing all he can to legally minimize his tax burden.

    August 16, 2012 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  14. Sirned

    Just show us your taxes and stop wasting our time on this... We are vetting you for our public servant not the other way around you elitist snob.... I want to know if you used the amnesty in 2009 for tax cheats granted to people like you who had off shore accounts... I think as a voter I have a right to know so quit playing the trust me card and pony up your returns ...complete returns going back at least 9 years like Obama has provided....

    August 16, 2012 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  15. John V

    Why is this news? We all know obama's henchmen are flat out liars. They have ZERO to stand on in accomplishments and have run the country into the ground so now the "hail mary" of making of crap hoping the same people that thought Obama was going to pay off their mortgage will be dumb enough to believe it. What a pathetic, hate-mongering, divisive, and yes – Racist group the Democratic Party has become.

    August 16, 2012 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  16. chen

    I paid 13% on my taxes(who really knows) but I still need another tax cut. What???? I paid double that last ten years. This is an absolute joke what the republicans are proposing and Americans who are "on the band wagon" are sheeple. If these tax cuts work, where are all the jobs???? Why are we all not CHOOSING which job we take since they have been in effect? These 1% ers (manipulaters)are laughing at the stupidity of the US public.

    August 16, 2012 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  17. Paul

    Wow 13 %, what a saint. What about the rest of us who pay darn near 40% who do not even make anywhere near what this guy does? I am no Obama lover, but he is going to mop the floor with this clown before this election is over.

    August 16, 2012 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  18. khaleeshi

    I don't believe you Willard – release your tax returns and stop hiding that you paid no taxes for more than 10 years, paychecks from Bain after 1999, more offshore accounts – could there be amnesty too, plus the 100 million dollar IRA – how the heck is that possible?

    August 16, 2012 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  19. Adam is Wrong

    Hey Adam! why hasn't the conservative congress passed a jobs bill?

    August 16, 2012 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  20. Dennis

    13%...Thats are too much for the ....Who?

    August 16, 2012 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  21. JC in Western U.S.

    There is no legitimate reason for him to refuse to do what every single candidate from both parties has done since 1976, which was, ironically, the year his father started the practice by releasing, I believe, 12 years worth.

    There is a good reason why they've done that. It was because Vice President Spiro Agnew had to resign the vice presidency because of, and was found guilty of tax evasion for failing to report income he received as Governor of Maryland.

    A man who refuses to release his income tax forms to prove that he is being lied about, won't be believed. The longer he resists and the more he protests, the more people will mistrust him. The fewer facts people know, the more they will speculate. He is not demonstrating the kind of integrity, honesty, and transparency that should be expected from a president.

    August 16, 2012 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  22. sayer

    13%? I'd be interested in how he got a rate so low...Show us the returns, Mitt.

    August 16, 2012 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  23. 67pal

    wow he paid about 13% plus charities which are tax deductable... I pay 30% in taxes (between fed state and medical its a bit over that)

    August 16, 2012 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  24. Repandum

    13% in combined taxes means federal tax of about 8%, which to me, is not paying taxes. And for anyone to sit here and think that's paying a fair share. You need help.

    August 16, 2012 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  25. Paul

    I paid more than 22% taxes that past 20 years Romney...big deal. You are not paying your fair share!!! and I am a Republican.

    Step up to the bar here and shw your tax returns...wha are you afraid of. I just applied for a home mortgage and had to show my past 3 years returns. What makes you any different then the rest of us Americans...who by the way served the country.

    August 16, 2012 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
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