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. taz

    13%???
    How in gods name are republicans ok with the rich paying lower taxes than the middle class?

    August 16, 2012 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  2. robj

    Under the Obama Administration there have been many people who did not pay a penny in income tax but got plenty of tax return. I think Mr. Romney is a outstanding man, and so far in his life he has contributed a lot to society as a lawyer and business leader, a governor, and along with that multi million dollars in tax. To me, Mr. Romney is an extraordinary man and exemplified role model. How many of Obama's people really paid tax??????

    August 16, 2012 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  3. Enemy of liberals

    Romney doesn't need to show leftists anything, he certainly doesn't have to answer to your demands, so boo hoo hoo.
    Where is Obamas real birth certificate and where are his college transcripts?

    August 16, 2012 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  4. MaryAngeline

    You want to be President you have to earn our trust. That means transparency. Let's face it, there are things in those returns you don't want the American people to see. Well guess what? We don't trust you enough t give you the job!

    August 16, 2012 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  5. 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 ________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 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  6. GOP = failure

    Adam, have you even listened or read to the non-stop b.s. thrown at Obama... you live under a rock.
    The primary issue at hand... is taxation of the rich (or lack thereof) and how the deficit has grown because of it.. and Romney and the puppet GOP Congress are insisting on more tax cuts – OR NOTHING WILL BE DONE – they have absolutely blocked any potential to help us avoid recession. WHY? Because they want a rececession so they can blame it on Obama.
    And you, Adam, will certainly drink the coolaid. Ignorance, people like you, Adam, are the biggest threat to America today.

    August 16, 2012 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  7. Harry Jackson

    Romney said that if you count charitable donations his tax rate is above 20%-why would the amount given to the Morman church(or any charity) count as putting Romney above (or even close to)a 20% tax rate?

    August 16, 2012 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  8. rude

    Are monies in offshore accounts tax exempt? Where else did he hide income?

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

    Apparently there are some little things (like the horse he owns that went to the Olympics, multiple properties, investments) that he doesn't want the public to know about.

    If he wins, he will be working for US. His father released many tax returns and thought all people running for office should. Why he is making this a negative issue for the GOP is beyond me.

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

    Wow..what am i paying as a middle class person? Somewhere between 40-50%? And this guy gets away with 13%? Then has the nerve to turn around and argue that HE needs a tax cut and he's willing to raise MY taxes (or cut my benefits) so that HE gets another tax cut? F'ng ridiculous!!! Enough is enough. These people need to pay their fair share like everyone else.

    August 16, 2012 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  11. D

    Ah, well, if Mittens says it to be so, it must be true!

    Anyone wanna buy a bridge I've got for sale??

    August 16, 2012 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  12. AGeek

    You'll pardon me if I don't believe it until I see it.

    August 16, 2012 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  13. Sandy Schafer

    How can Romney be so proud of paying 13 % of his income in taxes when we of the middle class ( we are making
    < $100,000 annually) are paying ~ 28% of our income in taxes. Additionally, we choose to give ~ 10 % of income in charitable contributions.
    We work hard for what we earn – a fact that those with mega incomes imply that they work harder than anyone else.

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

    He means 1.3% x 10 years......

    August 16, 2012 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  15. Scott Roberts

    I am a Mormon and it's pretty much assumed that all of us are supposed to whole heartedly support Romney...but this is a major issue to me. I work an honest job and make a decent living, but things are tight in our house and luxuries are not available. We are happy for what we have but I am disgusted by corporate greed. I used to believe that Romney was truly brilliant, but now I am convinced that he is just another corporate greed monger who is so used to not answering to any of his employees, and lying through lawyers and tax accountants, that he actually thinks he can behave as he has when running for president. The voting population is not your employee nor a court of law where $600/hr lawyers can spin your warped reality into a winning argument. The 1% is by definition a very small part of the population and team Obama must be thrilled by how easily Mitt is letting them turn this into basic class warfare. I suppose the truly devout republican can still vote for Mitt...but independents will flee from this type of behavior. Obama will win by a wide margin!

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

    The GOP is not what it used to be. They are far right wing ideologists "Tea Party". If the American people vote these guys in, and give them the Senate as well, watch out! They will be pushing the Legislation through faster then you can imagine. Wait till the American people start screaming "Where's the Government" when the next hurricane Katrina strikes. There will be no FEMA trailors for you or any assistance what-so-ever. After all, less Government means LESS GOVERNMENT. You are on your own. We will be voting in our own US Austerity measures...and you think Greece has it bad??!!

    August 16, 2012 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  17. AK_steve

    If he paid taxes, and nothing below 13%, then you would think revealing 10 years of tax returns wouldn't be a big deal.

    What you hiding Mitt??!

    August 16, 2012 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  18. Aileen

    I sure would love to pay only 13% in taxes... I'm a single person, don't own a home, have no special deductions, and my cut is over 30%! And I make a whole lot, and I mean a lot below middle class income. Let's all play our tiny violins here! With his milliions, his 30% would make things a little easier for the rest of us.

    August 16, 2012 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  19. rh

    Timing is everything, it's probably already too late for him to release his tax forms. And frankly, most politicians only release redacted tax forms, so he could just report his annual income, his wife's annual income, and then how much they paid, and probably get most people off his back.

    August 16, 2012 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  20. Tom

    The basic simple fact is that if he did show his taxes, what you would find is someone who took advantage of every tax loophole provided to lower his taxable income.

    It is all perfectly legal, but it would give ammunition to his opponents to twist the perceptions of what he does into something bad. But the fact of the matter is he used the system given to him – a system which every rich person can take advantage of. He knows there is nothing truly bad in his returns, but it sure can be twisted to make it look bad.

    Can't say that I blame him for not wanting to release the returns.

    August 16, 2012 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  21. taz

    Adam, the Dems have been trying to get rid of this moronic tax cut for the rich since they got into office. Apparently the wealthy are getting away with ridiculously low income tax while everyone else pays a higher percentage. That is utterly disgusting greed.

    August 16, 2012 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  22. Michael Caswell

    So it's ok when the GOP spends years saying "Obama isn't a US citizen show us your birth certificate" but if the Dems say show us your tax returns how is that any different?

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

    I agree Adam, next thing you know they'll start asking for Romney's birth certificate!

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

    Will CNN cover this story if it turns out that Harry Reid was incorrect?

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

    He says it's 13%, but he offers no proof and he says he's not going to offer proof. He lies about everything – without proof his word means nothing.

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