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. Ramrod

    Talk is cheap. Show the returns. Also disclose if you have participated in the Swiss bank account amnesty program.

    August 16, 2012 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  2. jake90

    His charity is the Mormon Church, lol. A vote for Romney is a vote to give control to the LDS church!

    August 16, 2012 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  3. DSS

    I do not regularly post anything. I am so disturbed by the push to make attack after attack by Obama and his people. He really has nothing else to talk about since the country is basically falling apart at the seams. I really do not care about Romney's income tax return; the IRS is responsible for monitoring that . Let's stop the bologna and start the discussion about repairing the economy and reestablishing America as a leader. We look like a bunch of dummies in the world arena; because we are. LETS GET ON WITH IT!!

    August 16, 2012 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  4. rtks

    Why the media do not pressing to release his taxes. Romney has confessed that if he releases the 10 years taxes the president will used if against him implying that somethings in them aren't kosher.
    Just release the darn records and make Reid look like a fool, or else, I believe him.

    August 16, 2012 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  5. Alex Loops

    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 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  6. Robme

    Ha Ha, they got Mittens to admit he only pays 13% in taxes while the middle class pays twice as much!

    August 16, 2012 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  7. Richard

    I'm from the Show Me state (MO). Don't tell us, show us!

    August 16, 2012 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  8. john

    This kills me, "Ok, I didn't pay zero taxes! I paid 13% !!" What an idiot. The guy makes tens of millions of dollars per year, hides half his money offshore and seems to be proud of the fact he pays half the percentage the average person pays on their income taxes. No wait, less than a quarter! I (and 99% of the middle class) pay over 45% of our income in taxes. No you read that right, I personally pay 35% to the fed, 7.5% to Social Security, 10% to state. Thrown in FICA, and you are over 50% easy. But hey as long as Richie Rich only has to pay 13%, he can be a president.

    August 16, 2012 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  9. MashaSobaka

    I have a feeling that this was their plan all along. A multi-millionaire admitting that he gives a paltry 13% of his income to taxes. That's what I paid for my $19,000 last year. Ha. Yeah, I know...capital gains tax, blah blah blah. That's the whole point: The tax code needs revising. Anyone want to do that? Oh, the Democrats do? Fancy that!

    August 16, 2012 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  10. parnell in canada

    You might fix unemployment by ensuring that rich folks pay a lot more than 13% in taxes! In most countries, that would be deemed criminal. And you can't ADD your charitable contributions to say you would have paid a higher rate. He didn't pay a higher rate ... period.

    August 16, 2012 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  11. Ed Sr of Dallas Tx

    After ALL deductions, and itemizations authorized by law, my wife and I paid about 11-12% in taxes last year....so...Romney is right in the ballpark! Many people and especially poor people or lower middle class pay NO TAXES at all! Some not only pay NO taxes but due to adoption shelters, some people actually RECEIVE money and pay no taxes! There are minorities who bilk the government yearly and WE, the taxpayers, also PAY their share!

    August 16, 2012 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  12. Chirag

    Romney paid 13% on the money he had in US accounts. What about the money he had over seas. If he had nothing to hide he would have released tax returns for more than the last two years., like previous presidential candidates have.

    August 16, 2012 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  13. UncleM

    I bet it's because he took the IRS offer of Tax Amnesty for offshore tax evasion. No wonder he doesn't want us to know.

    August 16, 2012 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  14. phenoy

    "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,"

    All of this is pure hearsay or an outright lie UNLESS he shows his ACTUAL returns. And from Romney's history about lying on everything just to get ahead, I'm willing to bet he is lying about this as well.

    August 16, 2012 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  15. Larry

    I pay 20% in taxes. Am I supposed to feel empathy for him?

    August 16, 2012 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  16. Paul

    And that settles everything! Discussion over. Move on!

    Sorry, Mittens, that doesn't work.

    August 16, 2012 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  17. UncleM

    It is because he took the IRS offer of Tax Amnesty for offshore tax evasion. No wonder he doesn't want us to know.

    August 16, 2012 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  18. Tom

    Reid says prove you paid taxes Mr. Romney? I don't think you did. Mitt then says (but doesn't prove) that he paid around a 13% federal tax rate and says I GOT YOU REID HAHA! Meanwhile the rest of America (the ones who can logically think anyway) says, 13%, gee this guy is raking us over the coals! This is not good for Romney! I don't care what any right winger says. Most of them are delusional anyways and brainwashed rather easy by the "fair and balanced" yet very far right wing network.

    August 16, 2012 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  19. expakistani

    I want to see Obama's college records including his admission records.

    August 16, 2012 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  20. M

    Pretty sure he should have been paying triple to quadruple that. Tax breaks for the rich to make them more rich so they can attempt to buy the presidency and then be completely out of touch with the majority of people they preside over. Logic= 0

    August 16, 2012 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  21. Steve

    Ok......so if this is the case why doesn't he release them? Would it be because he is a BIG FAT LYING CHEAT!?!?!?!

    August 16, 2012 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  22. little tin god

    You know, it's not that much about how little in taxes he may pay, but more about how many millions/billions does he have in tax free off shore accounts. So him telling us to trust him just doesn't work.

    August 16, 2012 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  23. Awetmedic

    I want to see his birth certificate. He channels his money through Luxumborg, I think he was born there.

    August 16, 2012 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  24. Jake

    Just show the American people 8 years of tax returns like Obama did. No one is asking you to do anything more than what someone else DID.

    As Reagan said....TRUST...BUT VERIFY.

    We just want to verify what you're saying Mitt. Nothing personal, just do what others have done. Nothing unreasonable or wrong about that. You can't say Trust me when you don't trust the American People.

    August 16, 2012 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  25. B C

    Show them Romney

    August 16, 2012 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
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