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. Rommy Romulan

    Yeah? Then prove it, provide the tax returns like every other presidential candidate since your own father started the practice. What are you hiding?

    August 16, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  2. Joe

    Hell he doesn't even know the exact amount he paid. "The most recent year is 3.6 or something like that." Mitt, I'll gladly share mine as a hard working middle class citizen if you'll share yours.

    August 16, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  3. Dot8

    Romney is addicted to money and fame, just like Hollywood people.

    August 16, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  4. Reaganrepub2

    The current crop of Republicans have had no answers for unemployment or the debt other than giving more money and tax breaks to the wealthy and businesses that don't need them. Romney doesn't say what this alleged 13% is on. If it's his net income I'd like to know what is his percentage of gross vs net. If he made 100M, wrote off all but 10k, and then payed $1,300 he has payed "13%". This wouldn't help his rich need yet more money platform though

    August 16, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  5. wcnea567

    All our broader issues like unemployment and debt are makings of Romney and other Americans like him. We the people must vote the right people into office in the coming election.

    August 16, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  6. Awetmedic

    That is way too much! I hope the rest of the 1%'ers kick him out of the club for over paying! GE is laughing at him pretty hard. How can a man this rich not figure out how to pay much less in taxes? I just hope that 13% is what he paid but that he got back at least 12.5%.

    August 16, 2012 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  7. JCQueipo

    If I had as much money as Mittens is hiding, I wouldn't be running for President !!

    August 16, 2012 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  8. 1nd3p3nd3nt

    another misstep by the romney campaign. He talks about it but isn't going to release his taxes? Every second he wastes not talking about the economy and his solution for it, is a second he's going to wish he had back come november.

    August 16, 2012 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  9. DJ

    Good !
    Let's see the tax returns !!!

    August 16, 2012 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  10. Onegood1

    Adam – nice post -
    Democrats are devoted to demagoguery (sp?) in this election cycle. I am an independent. If I were a democrat, I would be totally embarrassed this year.

    August 16, 2012 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  11. Conservative Liberal

    Mitt, I assume the 13% is the tax rate on taxable income, the latter not including the amount given to LDS (deductible). Thus, if you add in the charitable deductions (to the denominator), the percent tax rate actually goes down, not up. Keep in mind, Uncle Sam saw none of the money that went to LDS, so you don't get to count that as tax. But you knew that.
    Yes, this is a distraction, but it simply reminds us that we working stiffs pay more than 13% on the money we make, whether we are taking care of sick people, repairing buildings, or teaching children. Convince us that you are going to change this system when you are elected.

    August 16, 2012 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  12. Slowgun

    Where's the birth certificate...oops, I mean tax records.

    August 16, 2012 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  13. bip

    while most other americans paid 25%-30%....

    August 16, 2012 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  14. Grge

    Finally, wow 13% , I paid almost 30% for last 10 ten year and this guys who makes thousands of times what I made paid 13%. He has no right to be President

    August 16, 2012 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  15. JD

    PROVE YOU PAID TAXES or I won't vote for you. If you aren't willing to show them you certainly can't be trusted.

    August 16, 2012 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  16. stanitan

    II believe Gov. Romney has paid taxes, but he needs to make his tax returns public.

    August 16, 2012 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  17. tj

    So becuase he said it, without showing or releasing it, all the tea baggers beleive it. Yes this is trivial, just like doubting Obama's birth certificate. Hipocrapsy thy name is republican

    August 16, 2012 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  18. Tom

    I sure paid a lot more than 13% in taxes and I made a lot less money than Romney. These guys use every loophole to get out of paying their fair share of taxes and they wonder why the country is in the hole that it is in.

    August 16, 2012 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  19. Jeckers

    Enough already – let's move on to what is really important. Jobs and the economy.

    August 16, 2012 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  20. Faith-Isn't-a-Preacher

    So people should be paying higher taxes on their Retirement Savings and Investments?
    Now the Obama camp is attacking people that aren't 'dependent' upon the government for their retirement.

    August 16, 2012 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  21. blake

    If everyone who paid a smaller percentage of their income in income taxes in the past 10 years voted for Romney (and none who paid more), he would win in an unprecedented 50 state landslide. Enough Marxist class warfare rhetoric from Obama/Biden.

    August 16, 2012 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  22. Johnny B. Goode

    As Harry Reid says, "We'll believe it when we see it!"

    August 16, 2012 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  23. David B.

    Show us the Money Mittwitt! Release the proof and then the questioning will end. Keep us in the dark and the speculation will keep on going. Hopefully Dimmitt will loose!!

    August 16, 2012 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  24. Jerry

    Wow! I sure wish my taxes came out to 13%. Last time I checked I pay closer to 30% of what I earn in taxes.

    August 16, 2012 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    THAT ISN'T THE POINT. The issue of tax returns may seem a rather small-time (though undoubtedly important) issue compared to other major issues the country and world are dealing with. It is the fact that Romney thinks he is exempt from having to openly prove himself (and his past) like every other president has followed in recent decades; mainly to maintain a sense of honesty with the electorate they've fought to represent. The only other explanation is that he is hiding some disconcerting parts from his past that would taint is chances. Either of these explanations are scary when choosing a person hand the country over to.

    August 16, 2012 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
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