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. jdoe

    Apparently 13% is too high for Romney, because his tax plan will slash it even more.

    August 16, 2012 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  2. Meow

    Well now that we all know you might as well just release them right?

    August 16, 2012 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  3. Evil Hollywood Liberal

    That's great Mitt....Now let's see the returns so we can check your math. Oh – can you also get us 10 years of Paul Ryan's returns while you're at it?
    thanks
    The Voters

    August 16, 2012 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  4. Slowgun

    @Adam

    Wow, the Democrats in office sure do know how to waste time on small issues. Does anybody want to lend some extra time to fixing unemployment or maybe paying down the debt? Anybody?... Anybody? Paul Ryan, put your hand down. I'm trying to find any Democrats who want to help with this.

    LOL...Republicans are setting records for filibustering. The republicans won the mid term elections telling us jobs was their number 1 priority. So, how many jobs bills did the present...NONE. They don't want things to get better, they know it keps them to stop any progress.

    August 16, 2012 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  5. Bill R in Oakland

    "...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%."

    Since when is voluntarily paying money to a charity considered a tax? In fact, those payments to charity were likely deducted from Mr. Romney's taxable income, further lowering his tax burden.

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

    Lets all just talk mitt romneys tax returns. That way we can just skirt around the Fact that the democratic party is utterly suppressing the amercian dream as we know it. I would have to agree with mitt, you people are small-minded.

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

    As my dad said, his %10 in taxes in a lot more money then any other 50% tax payer is paying.

    Although yes I agree that the middle class is getting hung out to dry

    August 16, 2012 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  8. doug Lewis

    So 13% with investment into the ecomomy doesn't sound out of bounds. Why did the president surrender his law lisence?

    August 16, 2012 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  9. Tony C

    Holy cow! How do I get that tax rate? Nice!

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

    Just like when the Republitards raised the issue on the Birth Certificate and Citizenship on POTUS. POTUS released this information. Why then Mr. Rommney and Co, does not want to release his tax returns??. What is so complicated about it?. When you don't fear anything you have nothing to hide.!!!

    August 16, 2012 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  11. Namejkane fl SEND THE THREE TIME LOSER romney HOME AND MAKE IT FOUR.

    People hate you and the Gop and every thing you Stanford for and you will find out in Nov.,and if the Gop tried to rig the vote ,we will come looking for all Gop !!!!!!!!!!!

    August 16, 2012 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  12. Jane

    He ain't NEVER gonna get elected. Nuff said. Who cares about his taxes.

    August 16, 2012 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    Really?....... now prove it!

    August 16, 2012 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  14. Dave

    Well after the right wing lunatics went nuts about Obama's birth certificate, asking for proof that Romney didn't scam the country is completely justified.

    August 16, 2012 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  15. Candlewick

    Soaring national debt. Deficits as far as the eye can see. Social Security and Medicare are bankrupt. We spend almost a trillion-a-year on defense. And this is what we're talking about? Will some adults please step forward.

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

    As my dad said, his 10% in taxes in a lot more money then any other 40% tax payer is paying.

    Although yes I agree that the middle class is getting the super sharp end of the stick.

    August 16, 2012 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  17. Wayne

    Release the long form tax returns!

    August 16, 2012 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  18. Kathy

    Wow! I sure am glad that a multi-billionaire paid a whopping 13% in taxes! How can I pay only 13% in taxes when I make a helluva lot less money then that?

    August 16, 2012 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  19. Jane

    He ain't NEVER gonna get elected. Nuff said. Who cares about his taxes. Hey Romney, you can take your taxes and put them where the sun don't shine baby.

    August 16, 2012 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  20. Derek

    Funny how everyone was expected to just trust Obama when he can't prove citizenship. But heaven forbid Romney doesn't release tax records.

    August 16, 2012 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  21. curt

    As my dad said, his 10% in taxes in a lot more money then any other 40% tax payer is paying.

    Although yes I agree that the middle class is getting the super sharp end of the stick. 1

    August 16, 2012 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  22. Hmm waste of time?

    Dont think so. It shows what kind or character Rom is buddy. I think instead or staying to a one-sided party maybe u should be an independant. Vote for the best president. So far I think obama is a better leader then Rom can be. Tax returns are important. If he cant show them then what else has he done?

    August 16, 2012 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  23. KW2012

    Your headline is purposefully misleading. It said "Romney: I paid 13% taxes last 10 years" what he REALLY said is that he paid AT LEAST 13% every year... And you wonder while you've lost HALF of your readers. I guess if pursuing a political agenda is worth tanking your numbers that is management's prerogative.

    August 16, 2012 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  24. Charles

    Well, bully for him. I paid 35%

    August 16, 2012 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  25. Thero

    Harry reid needs to be recalled by the Cowboys of neveda who owe it to the rest of the USA to replace this embarrassment they call their "Representative" Harry Reid is too stuppid for politics and he is sure as heck not worth the ballot money spent on him...he was elected becasue no one went out to vote, not becasue he was greatly supported by Nevadans...Cowboy Country you need to fix what is w rong with Reid and step up for Americans. Let's here it from Nevadans!

    August 16, 2012 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
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