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. Jennifer

    13% I know people on welfare that pay more!!!

    August 16, 2012 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  2. Eve

    Taxes are a SMALL issue? Tell that to the IRS. And if you want to find a Democrat that is trying to fix the issues you mention, look into the congressional record. What I am wondering is where is the collaboration between parties? The real patriot will put aside the vitriol and demonizing ("Obama is a communist", "Obama isn't an American", "Romney is just a pretty face with a good haircut", etc) and actually work with the other side – Democrat or Republican. When is the last time there was cooperation between the parties? The early 90's? Even that's a stretch with the contract with America stuff... Get real folks, Put the BS aside and work for the country, not your party!

    August 16, 2012 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  3. MAC

    At least he keep his word and checked to see what he paid percentage wise over the last 10 years and answered the press question. I do not blame Romney or Ryan for releasing no more than 2 years of taxes, all the press and democrats want it for is to show how rich Romney is, not that he paid taxes!

    August 16, 2012 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  4. David

    13 per cent tax is still a trickle. Romney represents the 1 per cent that takes care of themselves and can have offshore bank accounts. On the other hand Obama is a socialist that is ruining this country. So either hand is full of manure.

    August 16, 2012 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  5. Sunny

    To all those Mitt-haters: Do you know that income from dividend is double taxation...first the company which makes money first pay the tax and then from the "after-tax" money pays a divident. The person who receives the income has to pay taxes again. Let me put it this way....Dad earns money, pays tax and then from the saving gives money to his kid. Now kid is taxed on the money given by dad.

    August 16, 2012 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  6. Koseki

    His "records" show this? Yeah we should take his word on it, politicians are known for their honesty.

    August 16, 2012 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  7. terrill

    If its so true why can we not see the tax returns?

    August 16, 2012 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  8. marinedad05

    I have strong feeling Mitt Romney is going to defeated by his own father, George.

    August 16, 2012 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  9. reasonablebe

    hmmm....13%? even the lowest tax rate for individuals is higher than that– and as far as "adding in " the amount that goes to charity...uh, no, that's not taxes– and I can't see how he could think it would. It's a deduction for those who itemize, not a tax paid credit.

    the info I have also indicates that most if not all of his 'charitable giving" has gone strictly to his own religious organization.

    Curious– is that 13% based upon capital gains? in other words, did he claim all of his income was in capital gains (like hedge fund traders), rather than paid salary? if you receive your payment from your employer in stocks, it should be counted as income, and so should whatever you earn on top of the award until such time as it fully vests, not capital gain. This is where the middle and lower income get a bit furious!

    August 16, 2012 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  10. Reefer Power

    I have lost all respect for Harry Reid. The little calumnious story teller.

    August 16, 2012 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  11. gwats

    Adam, Mitt's taxes are NOT a small issue, and he's going to lose a ton of votes because of being too arrogant to release them. 13% seems curiously small. HOW did he do it? Won't tell you, because he won't release the returns! He wants us to take him for his 'word'..... like promising to defund planned parenthood and kill the AFA? No, I'd rather see the returns. FAIL!!!

    August 16, 2012 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  12. fescobedo999

    What the media is not reporting is that Romney has been basically retired for the past several years! He has not received a payheck in a while. The taxes he is paying are mainly from capital gains, not working income! And he is risking his money while investing it. How many retirees do you know that pay 13% of their income in taxes, plus they give more than 10% to charities?

    August 16, 2012 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  13. romney the crook

    Number of Tax Returns Released by Former Presidential Candidiates:

    Obama.....8 years (2008)

    Kerry.....5 Years

    Clinton...12 years

    George W.....6 years (REPUBLICAN)

    George Senior.....8 years (REPUBLICAN)

    Dole....30 YEARS!!! (REPUBLICAN)

    So... What are you afraid of, Mittens? Hmmm?????

    August 16, 2012 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  14. Jack Be Humble

    Time wasters exist in every election. We had time wasters keen on birth certificates and college entrance paperwork and transcripts fairly recently. I suspect this is part of the nature of politicians, rather than being tied to a particular political party.

    August 16, 2012 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  15. steve

    And the birthers think THEY have an issue? Gimme a break! Romney should follow his daddy's lead and let those puppies see the light of day. Just as an aside, I believe he did pay taxes. The issue is how much he was able to shelter. My guess is that's what he doesn't want known. You can bet old Joe The Plumber and the other 99%ers might have a problem with that.

    August 16, 2012 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  16. paul rossi

    He gonna put ya'll back in chains!

    August 16, 2012 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  17. lynnmarie2u

    He "thinks' he paid that? And if it is true,why all the secrecy. After all,his own father presented his tax returns to the public, stating "One yr could be a fluke,perhaps done for show,and what mattered in personal finance was how a man conducted himself over the long haul"

    August 16, 2012 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  18. rob

    Of course you'll never know if Romney is telling the truth because "you people" already know all you need to know according to the Romneys. And isn't 13% and extremely low percentage? Most poor and middle class people I know (the not 1%) pay closer to 30% in tax. Then again they work hard and don't put most of their money in foreign tax shelters. Romney and Ryan truly are greedy, corrupt, and disgusting.

    August 16, 2012 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  19. SeilnoigileR

    I think Romney's theme song should be Nine Inch Nails' 'Head Like a Hole'. The lyrics describe him (and sadly most other politicians on both sides) perfectly.

    August 16, 2012 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  20. bob

    Well, I don't see or hear anybody accusing Romney of anything ILLEGAL. So, the problem REALLY is that Mitt, or anybody else for that matter, including all rich Dems, is ABLE to engage in all kinds of LEGAL ways of reducing tax burdens.... or is it REALLY a problem? The whole idea behind a tax break is that it's a way for the GOVERNMENT to ENCOURAGE the BEHAVIOR it WANTS.... I think that is pretty much a DEMOCRAT/LIBERAL concept.... Also, 13% of millions of dollars is a LOT more money than 25% of my stupid, meager income. A tax system based on percentages is PROGRESSIVE by definition and should make liberals happy no matter what. But, NOOOOOO, they constantly pander to the voting base by promising to push for 90% taxes on the "rich",.... except for the tax breaks that DEMOCRATS want because they want to control behavior... nobody really thinks this stuff through...

    August 16, 2012 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  21. mommytwice

    Just take Mitt's word for it! We can all trust him, can't we? Right? yeah, riiight. Release the tax returns, Mitt.

    August 16, 2012 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  22. Sue

    How is it that Mitt Romey pays a whopping up to 20% taxes and my husband and I pay 33% or more? Something is wrong with this picture...Oh yeah, I give to charity as well.

    August 16, 2012 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  23. bwannabob

    OK so he did pay taxes--13% ?? I work 80 hrs a week- have a middle class salary and pay 27% in federal taxes. Does Romney support this? If not he should say so right now- or he loses my vote for sure.

    August 16, 2012 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  24. Jason Heil

    It is interesting that Reid's accusations mention "Income Taxes" and every single time Romney has addressed the issue he has just said "Taxes." Could it be that he paid 13% in Other Taxes and 0% in Income Taxes? Then they're BOTH right!

    August 16, 2012 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  25. ShowYourTaxes

    Come on Romney, What are you afraid of?????

    August 16, 2012 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
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