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. Anonymous

    Who is his accountant? How do i get a 13% tax liability?

    August 16, 2012 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  2. Mopery

    What we must all remember is the reaction from the Republicans and Tea Party when President Barack Obama simply told them that he had been born in the United States. Remember how just saying he had been born here wasn't good enough for them?

    It seems the shoe's on the other foot now.

    Why should we believe Mitt Romney paid his taxes if he's unwilling to provide the paperwork? Every other Presidential candidate has given full disclosure concerning their taxes.

    Put up or shut up, Mitt!

    August 16, 2012 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  3. Royboy25

    noticed that he didn't pay any SS tax or medicare. if he showed us his taxes it would be on his W-2. wait, he doesn't have payroll as his income – he has investments, i get a bonus at work and it is subject to 25% income and 7.65 SS tax. a whooping 32.65% and he pays 13% on $43 million. thanks for making me pay for the elderly, widowed, orphans that drain Social Security and you make your 10% to the Church of LDS.

    Yeah, Mitt, you are one of us. B*()s#!&

    August 16, 2012 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  4. Syd

    Oh, so he paid 13%? Well, that's less than
    E and any of my friends (well most of em, I do have a couple of rich friends). And, why is everyone taking this as fact? Because he TOLD us so? Yeah, that makes it true.

    August 16, 2012 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  5. Ed Sr of Dallas Tx

    Harry Reid is not only a liar....Harry Reid has been a liar since time began! He is a walking mouth with no substance!

    August 16, 2012 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  6. dustinsc

    Mitt should make Obama a deal: Obama releases the records on Fast and Furious to Congress (he doesn't even need to release it to the public if there's a safety issue) and Romney releases his tax records. I think that's a more than fair deal considering there is no real reason anyone needs to see Romney's personal finances if there is no (credible) accusation that he's done anything illegal. On the other hand, the public, or at least Congress, has a very real interest in knowing how the President is overseeing the Justice Department's work.

    August 16, 2012 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  7. Slowgun

    (flip)“I’m not a partisan Republican,” Romney said. “I’m someone who is moderate, and . . . my views are progressive.”
    Oops, sorry wrong quote…

    shake etch-a-sketch

    (flop)“I was a severely conservative governor”

    "Trust me"

    Sorry Mitt but must Americans don't trust some one who as Newt Gingrich said "He'll say nything to get elected"

    August 16, 2012 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  8. John Tighe

    He's lied before about his taxes; I can't see why he would be any different now.

    August 16, 2012 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  9. Sue

    Plain and simple – if that's the best and the most he has to say, he's an outright liar. Why can't he simply PRODUCE & SHOW his returns, as Obama had to show his birth certificate? How dumb does he think voters are? While I can't answer for the republicans, I can tell you I think there are far more Democrats who see the light.

    August 16, 2012 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  10. fekt

    hmmm, no supporting evidence. i just can't take a politicians word for it. i believe the phrase is "put up or shut up". You made the claim, prove it. Is that not the what you asked of others?

    August 16, 2012 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  11. Al

    Everyone does realize that Romney's 13% is about 13% more than some people paid, but those that didn't pay are the first to whine that there are not enough taxes being paid. If they want to see the government get more money then those same people should either stop collecting the tax payers money for doing nothing, or pay up more taxes, either way I don't care, for I go out, work and pay my taxes, and though I feel it's more than I would like to see squandered to the wasteful programs it's not by choice that I am forced to surrender my hard earned money. This would be a good time to get a Fair tax passed so that ALL citizens can pay a portion of the tax bill.

    August 16, 2012 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  12. Bud Tarken

    Holly cow how in the world does this chump get to pay 13% tax rate? Can I please have this option or is just reserved for the wealthy who knows how to manipulate the tax system?

    August 16, 2012 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  13. mark5

    I looked at my tax returns and I paid 13% every time for the last ten years – there you have it, Harry is wrong. Satisfied?
    This is no brainer prima facie case......best defense ever by Mitt Romney.

    August 16, 2012 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  14. NC_mike

    Don't believe it until he shows his tax returns. Liar!

    August 16, 2012 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  15. rnuthman

    I own a small business and have to pay 33% of my earnings to taxes every year.. something is not right

    August 16, 2012 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  16. frootyme

    OK, but much did you hide?

    August 16, 2012 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  17. mom0f3

    Prove it Mitt!

    August 16, 2012 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  18. isaac

    He said Hhe said I said No Way !

    August 16, 2012 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  19. Laura

    Wow – I wish I could say I never paid less than 20% in taxes in the past 10 years but I can't.

    August 16, 2012 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  20. Lisa

    I respectfully have to say Adam, I became unemployed and uninsured under Bush when my job went overseas after 22 years and you simply can't blame the democrats for the debt and unemployment problems. The debt is due to unfunded wars (that wasted money and solved NOTHING, and unemployment is due to people being fearful of losing their benefits (health insurance.....which Republicans call welfare and socialism).

    August 16, 2012 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  21. keith

    So Mitt Romney only pays 13% in taxes and republicans wonder why our government doesn't have enough money to pay the bills. There's your answer right there. The extremely wealthy should pay their fair share instead of hiding their money in offshore accounts and paying their accountants to find tax loopholes for them to use.

    August 16, 2012 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  22. John Tighe

    Paul Ryan doesn't care about the national debt. If he really does, then why does he want to add another 4 trillion to it by giving more tax breaks to the Rich?

    August 16, 2012 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  23. BSS

    Really, Republicans? Do you recall who demanded Obama's birth certificate last time around (Donald Trump doesn't count)? Who has sent the repeal of Obamacare to a vote no less than 30 times? Anybody remember that whole lesson about glass houses? Anybody?.... Anybody? Oh, and let's remember who actually put us into the economic mess we're in now. Baseless claims of WMDs, thousands of US soldiers needlessly sacrificed, billions of $$ wasted? Anybody? .... Anybody?

    August 16, 2012 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  24. Carol Cash

    As an independent voter I like to follow both sides of the political arena issues, but when Mitt Romney was speaking today about his tax payments, and said "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%."...... my jaw dropped. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I backed up my DVR tape 3 times to make sure I heard him correctly. I thought he was supposed to be a savvy business man? That he was supposed to be sharp? Whose coat tails has he been riding on!!?? Adding his charity contributions to his 13% taxes does NOT bring him to having paid "well above 20%"! Charity contributions are a deduction, not a tax. His charity contributions helped REDUCE his tax basis down to that 13%. Not too swift.

    August 16, 2012 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  25. Rob

    He's a politician. Of course nobody is going to trust him, especially with things relating to money and personal wealth. Though I don't know if he has or not, but perhaps President Obama should put up 10 years worth of his tax returns before taking office.

    August 16, 2012 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
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