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. West Coast

    Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are LOSERS! Please American, do not be stupid and vote these guys in! Starting to look at retiring out of this country.....if the Tea Party gets in..it will be all over for us 50 year olds!!!

    August 16, 2012 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  2. billy

    Adam if that was The President who was not releasing the information you would be hammering him.

    August 16, 2012 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  3. harbharb

    Ryan also has issues with disclosure - he didn't disclose that he and his wife inherited up to $5 million two years ago. Wow!

    August 16, 2012 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  4. Thero

    meant strangle a man....HARRY REID TRY TO STRANGLE A MAN....

    August 16, 2012 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  5. sharky

    Sheesh what did I say wrong to anger the CNN censors.

    Good grief.

    Romney's mention was only regarding income taxes, not all the other taxes he has paid. Heck half the country does not even pay income taxes.

    August 16, 2012 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  6. DaleW in MA

    He's a politician and his lips are moving, you be the judge about the 'facts'. We survived him for 4 years here in MA, the country clearly won't, not to mention all the women the republicans want to 'control'.
    The funny part is he's a pro at the tax code and that 13% was only a subset of his fortune, the rest was 0%.
    The republicans are the folks avoiding the jobs issue with all their anti-health care, anti-abortion and anti voting rights legislation.

    August 16, 2012 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  7. clem

    So we're supposed to just believe him because he "said so" bwuahahaha....HE is a KNOWN LIAR. Check his days running for governor. The man can't decide what is truth or not..Got caught LYING. Look it up. "oh, I paid lots of taxes, believe me, now let's move on" NO FN WAY. You lied before and your doing it again. SHOW THAT YOU PAID TAXES AND NOT LEAVING IT UP TO US....WHILE YOU OUTSOURCE OUR JOBS.. Anyone voting for him is insane at best

    August 16, 2012 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  8. Vincent

    Doesnt the mormon church require its members to donate a certain amount to it? Especially for higher ranking members? And this is being claimed as 'charity'?

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

    Prove it!

    August 16, 2012 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  10. Iconoclast

    Really appreciate Romney volunteering that to us but, nonetheless, he should release his returns. You can't prove Harry is a liar just by saying so Mitt, so come on show the returns.

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

    Hmmm Adam...small minded, small issues? Yet your other post bring up college transcripts...funny, just funny

    August 16, 2012 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  12. Karm99

    Mitt, please tell us how the IRS Amnesty Program works with your 13% claim?

    Is that before or after you paid back taxes and penalties for cheating?

    August 16, 2012 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  13. jennifer holland

    I would love to pay 13% tax but as a member of the 99% only making 100K a year I pay 33% tax !!!! And it will continue as such until we – as AMERICANS-fed up with corporate control voice our disgust as a collective. I can't believe more people aren't outraged over this wealthy man paying only 13% tax when the rest of us non-elite schlubs pay such a huge tax !

    August 16, 2012 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  14. TheJSHep

    I'm not for taxing the hell out of anybody but I make 50k a year & pay a higher tax rate than 13%

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

    Adam...Yes small issues. Lying,hypocrisy obstruction.... the "picture of false fiscal conservancy". Yep those pesky little things. What 's even more "Iryanic" you call out to Ryan not Romney. He is too busy burning his Ayn Rand novels.

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

    I make less than $40K and paid 15% and no deductions....just not right

    August 16, 2012 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  17. JGANUKEAPELSD

    Obama and Romney eat Baloney and you are what you eat! Phillip Anthony Biondo for President 2012 of the Fraternity Party! Free College like k-12. Free Healthcare. All safe drugs over the counter. Evolution, big bang, god of Universe. Fraternity party: Lets all move to california and secede from the union. I'm suing the supreme court Apes for freedom of Religion, I suffer from severe depression because drugs, primarily thc, psilocybin, mescaline, lsd, and dmt are illegal, in fact I commited suicide.

    Put some acid in my Tango. Divinorum 40x requires torch lighter, very small pinch way too much scary rollercoaster over fast. Grow Psychotria Viridia,dry grind and capsule, requires banisteropsis caapi plant or peganum harmala to be orally active DMT (warning MAOI). Morning Glory seeds grind and capsule 30 take all to trip, warning: seeds from store are poisoned. 5-MEO-DMT psychotropic toad venom Bufo Alvarius, smoke dried venom squeezed out sacks on neck use extreme caution, if dog eats toad it will die, bufotene on skin do not handle. San Pedro cactus, extract holy native american medicine with methanol and evaporate. Grow Magic mushrooms with psilocybin spore syringe online. Opium and medical marijuana indoors 150 W HPS. Grow Coca seeds from cocaricky’s and suck on quid of leaves.

    Meditate for a hour and a half, takes lots of practice. Tobacco is the opposite of green tea and alcohol is a poisonous fuel so why are these the ones that are legal? Psychiatric medicine needs to be over the counter. Patent this for me: emergency room table that drains lost blood and reuses with iv. Admiral, the nuclear spaceship has found a planet around the next star Alpha Centauri, the marines have the natives and dinosaurs under control, this medicine we found in this plant is incredible. Wonder if Intel and AMD can make a super-human artificial intelligence in 30 years?

    August 16, 2012 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  18. djdnc137

    Well, at least we got the "change" part of "hope and change."
    The change is that Obama is running the most negative, dirty campaign in American history.

    If Obama REALLY thinks Romney didn't pay taxes and that there is REALLY reason to believe that other
    than Obama and Reid's desire to run a smear campaign by instigating baseless charges – THEN CALL
    THE IRS AND REPORT HIM.

    But Obama and Reid won't do that – because there WAS no 'informant.'

    Tell us your plan to do far, far better in your second term, Mr. President.
    Defend your first term, Mr. President.
    Stop blaming everyone and spewing baseless accusations, Mr. President.
    Contribute to bipartisan solutions, Mr. President.

    Over the years, I've liked some Presidents from both parties, and disliked others.
    This is the first one that I feel I need to lecture like a naughty kindergartner.

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

    The likely GOP presidential nominee said Thursday his records show that "Harry Reid's charge is totally false." Sounds like he is saying that before Reid made "The Charge" that Romney didn't know what he paid in taxes but just found out recently. If you believe this I've got some land in the artic and because it is melting in the region, you can bottle the water and sell it for a tidy little profit. All you have to do then is speak to Romney's accountant to show you how to avoid paying taxes on it and we'll have you on your way.

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

    I'm supposed to be thankful he paid at least 13%!!! Most of my working years my hubby and I put out 28-30% on what he would consider a meager living...less than 100k combined & less in earlier years. Even now as retiree's we pay 22% of the income we receive (pension & ss). We work 30+ years, raise a family, give what we can to charities that help those in need (children & elderly) and somehow now when retired the same corporations we worked for are raising premiums on our healthcare we earned and of course we are at age 65+becoming Medicare eligible with our employers health care plans as the secondary insurance. (and they want to revamp those programs) How does that somehow seem fair for working families. I CANNOT RELATE TO ROMNEY nor his supporters who somehow think he is on their side. HE is for the wealthy only.

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

    Typical CNN headline: Romney pays 13% in taxes. That is not even close to true. First, Romeny paid AT LEAST 13% each year in federal income taxes. Add in social security, state and local taxes, sales adn property taxes and that number is dwarfed.

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

    @Adam, seriously get over yourself. Republicans spent the better half of his presidency bothering about his Birth Certificate. Oh Romney said he never paid less than 13%? Ok, lets believe him then.

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

    I pay at least 20% in federal...and I make 1/4 of what Romeny makes....so he isn't winning this independent's vote.

    August 16, 2012 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  24. RoadRunner, Albuquerque, NM

    This is a major issue, b/c it goes to the heart of trust. If candidate Romney can not be trusted in his personal affairs conducted with the government, then he most certainly can not be trusted in public affairs while supposedly serving in government. It is one of the most serious questions that must be asked of candidate Romney. I will not take his word for it, nor that of his lovely wife, Ann. I WILL BELIEVE HIM WHEN HE PRODUCES HIS TAX RETURNS IN FULL FOR THE PAST 10 YEARS. This is more than fair, and if he won't meet the people half-way by producing said returns for them to inspect, then he is simply NOT QUALIFIED for public office. Period.

    August 16, 2012 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  25. RF Burns

    How many of you thought taxes were an issue when Kerry was running?

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