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. Todd

    So this multi millionaire paid roughly half of what my wife and I paid and we're barely middle class? I'm so glad he thinks 13% is a lot. . .

    August 16, 2012 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  2. Phil

    "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."-Adam

    Your a fool if you think this is a Dem vs Repub issue, both are doing neither and are happy to keep it that way to manipulate you for your vote.

    August 16, 2012 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  3. bluemountain

    Adam, is lying about your payment of taxes or refusal to provide your returns really " a small issue"? I guess for you it is.

    August 16, 2012 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  4. Ol Abe

    Why doesn't he just release all his tax returns? He's running for president. His life will be under a microscope everyday, if he is elected. He should get used to that fact now, if he wants the Oval Office. He should just release the information now, if he wants us to believe him. Maybe he's telling the truth. He should prove it.

    August 16, 2012 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  5. Chuk

    Adam, where were Republicans the last 4 years? You want to talk about 'small' issues? Small issues is vowing to do everything to defeat a president, even if it means doing nothing for American. Every single Republican in Washington know that if they had made even a 20% effort to work with Democrats instead of insisting on all or nothing, the country would be better off today. But, no. Their idea of "Democracy" is either have it all their way or no one gets anything, regardless of the country's needs. And when they finally get into power, they will remind the country of the need for cooperation "for the American people". Because if Democrats do the same thing they're doing, they'd be accused of not being patriotic. Go figure.

    August 16, 2012 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  6. Jimmy

    Yes I believe he did figure his taxes at 13%-sales tax, property tax, state tax, etc tax. He did not say IRS tax or fed tax on his returns. I hope he gets cornered and has to verify what he means by 13% taxes paid? He exemplifies all what has gone wrong with this country.

    August 16, 2012 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  7. GOP scam

    "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."

    August 16, 2012 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  8. 1ofTheFallen

    Romney needs to tell Obama that he will release his taxes when Obama releases his college transcripts. If Obama doesn't have anything to hide then he should release his college records. I have a feeling that Obama is not nearly as smart as he pretends or else he would have been hired by a top law firm.
    What is Obama hiding?

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

    And if Ryan's budget goes into effect, it will be less than 1%. Ryan's budget calls for no taxes on capital gains – and that's exactly how Romney makes his money – as well as the rest of the rich. When they propose a budget that calls for fair taxation – I might take them seriously. We're Democrats and pay more than 13%.

    August 16, 2012 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  10. JCRJCR

    How did he do that? if I'm not mistaken, the minimum one can pay after all possible deductions is 14%, so for him 13% is probably less than zero taxes as Dems claim

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

    oh wow and everyone else in working class paid 33%

    August 16, 2012 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  12. rice

    13%??? That's the tax bracket of the working poor....and he thinks the rich should pay less taxes...shame on you Romney.

    August 16, 2012 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  13. jsheez@gmail.com

    If anyone you thinks his taxes are a small issue. you better wake up, because claims he was a job creator, but he hid his money overseas and ship jobs overseas just like the rest of the millionaires and billionaires. all of you keep asking where is the jobs, but these billionaire business have already had 10 yrs of the lowest taxes in the history of the us. Why don't you ask them where jobs are??? and they want their taxes even lower so they claim they can bring back jobs please.......

    August 16, 2012 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  14. Pices

    Why doesn't he just release all his tax returns? He's running for president. His life will be under a microscope everyday, if he is elected. He should get used to that fact now, if he wants the Oval Office. He should just release the information now, if he wants us to believe him. Maybe he's telling the truth. He should prove it. he should hurry too.

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

    That's still pretty darn low.... If we think tax policy is an important issue, Romney's taxes are an important consideration. Not just as a candidate, but as an American.

    August 16, 2012 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  16. Rick1948

    Heck, I paid more than that and I don't make diddly.

    August 16, 2012 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  17. 1ofTheFallen

    Romney needs to tell Obama that he will release his taxes when Obama releases his college transcripts. If Obama doesn't have anything to hide then he should release his college records.

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

    ...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 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  19. elucidated1

    This is going to haunt Romney. Now if he releases his tax returns and, uh, has months where he, uh. . paid less than 13% .. .it aint' going to be pretty. Release em.

    August 16, 2012 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  20. Travis

    13%!!!!!!!!!!!!! Are you kidding me? I pay more than that as a college student serving in the military. That's BS.

    August 16, 2012 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  21. 1ofTheFallen

    Romney needs to tell Obama that he will release his taxes when Obama releases his college transcripts.

    August 16, 2012 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  22. Greg

    Maybe you should call someone in that GOP controlled congress. I mean surely you can find someone there who can help. They have been such a big help already.

    August 16, 2012 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  23. bluemountain

    Ok Mitt, if that's the whole truth then why not release your returns? Or should you be taken on your good word?

    August 16, 2012 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  24. Thero

    Harry Reid probably has never done his own taxes but he did starngle a man...see wikipedia....see what Harry Reid is all about...a talker, like Nobama.

    August 16, 2012 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  25. Edgyone

    When I was making 60k a year, single, and had a huge pile of student loan debt, no house, no deduction I paid 28% FIT. Life sucked and I had to give up a lot, including a sport that I really loved cause I could not afford to keep it up. If I had to pay 13% then maybe that would not have been necessary. It is messed up that an individual making millions, doing nothing, paid 13%. Screw him, all you idiots that think this is the way to collect revenue are deluded, or on the right side of the scale. Corporate taxes are one thing, individual taxes another. If corporate taxes are low that helps jobs, low individual income taxes just mean that there is less money to pay for what the government is doing. The choice in this coming election is clear, GOP = middle class screwed again, DEMS = some sanity to how we pay for our government.

    August 16, 2012 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
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