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. TheNYCdb

    I have no doubt that Mitt Romney paid 13% taxes for the last 10 years the issue I have is when he paid those taxes. Based on the candidates wording and refusal to release the actual returns it seems increasingly likely that both Gov Romney and Reid's Source are correct. Most likely Gov Romney did not pay taxes between 1998 and 2008, but in 2009 he took advantage of President Obama's tax cheat amnesty program to pay those unpaid taxes without penalty.

    August 16, 2012 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  2. t3chn0ph0b3

    People on social security disability with working spouses pay more than twice that percentage. It's not something of which to be proud.

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

    I really don't care how much taxes he paid.

    To me the issue is simply that he's refusing to show the returns. By not showing the returns he's telling me he's not willing to be open and honest with the American people. Every candidate since his father ran for president has shown the returns once they were actually their party's nominee.

    He's also saying to me he's got something to hide. Something bad enough that he can't risk the American people seeing the returns. This issue is more than enough for me to not vote for him, to completely disqualify him.

    August 16, 2012 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  4. works4me

    This is no "small issue". Romney says a lot that isn't true. IF he wants us to believe him he needs to show his taxes... like everyone has done for decades. There's something very fishy here.

    August 16, 2012 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  5. sylvester Iwotor

    I have a small barbershop, I got a loan from bank of America, they demanded three years tax return, I showed it to them and i got the loan. You are runing for the office of the President of America and you want to show only two years tax return?...... are you kidding me?....... You don't deserve to be a President. Produce 12 years of tax return or get out for somebody else.

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

    .....well.....of course you did, Romney Hood

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

    How long did it take him to come out with this unfounded number? Ridiculously late. Let us figure it out for ourselves. Just release them like you've asked your other opponents to do in the past. Yes, we don't believe you.

    August 16, 2012 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  8. Jill

    You are not waiting it out and playing it down.... Release your taxes it is that simple... you are not getting off the hook.... By the way who do you want for our vice president.... give me a break. I suggest you quit and start a few businesses where you can employ him and solve some of the unemployment issues for us in America. You are rich so your money is better served that way..... any way if you still think of competing remember Americans like transparency so naturally we need your tax returns released. it is that simple... You are not convincing anyone with anything by extending the length of your talk.
    I am also sorry to say, i don't see how your methods could solve any problems in America... Your methods will put us back in old situation before Obama.... ie borrowing to run the economy...
    Americans have their eyes wide open. We need a president that will help us face the hard reality of all the borrowing we did to run our economy. We are willing to tighten our belt and make sacrifices if you can come up with a plan to drastically reduce our national defect.
    You attack the unemployment figures... Obama inherited a country that took a nose dive... so I don't see you or anyone else improving the situation with a magic bullet. We need a President that will allow us to face the reality and help us fix our economy in a meaning and sustainable fashion.

    August 16, 2012 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  9. Sally

    show me the returns–the birthers wanted to see the certificate, I want to see the returns. A tax refund for all of us who paid more. Give me a break, he gives to the Morman church who in return contributes to his campaigns. Now that should be illegal. I am a returner!!!!!!

    August 16, 2012 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  10. Larry

    It's not really such a small issue when you consider that the economic argument put forth by Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, and most Republicans is that if we reduce taxes on the highest income brackets, jobs will magically spring forth and all of America will be more prosperous. Mitt Romney paying 13% is indicative of the fact that most wealthy Americans and American companies do not even pay the same marginal percentage as AVERAGE Americans. And yet they have consistently hoarded that wealth and done nothing to grow the economy. It's a morally and intellectually bankrupt argument that is bankrupting this country.

    P.S. No, Mitt, we will not include your charitable donations as part of your taxes, since you presumably chose to donate that money freely and willingly to causes you believe in rather than solely for the tax break. Then again, the charitable deduction is just another in a long line of loopholes, deductions, reduced investment income rates, and benefits for the wealthy that defines the United States tax code and allows a man making millions of dollars a year by sitting on previously earned income to pay 13% in taxes.

    August 16, 2012 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  11. Cindy

    Get off the tax return stuff already. I want to hear about plans for this country, not some broken record repeating the same thing. This is making me believe that the Democrats don't have a real plan. "It's the economy stupid".

    August 16, 2012 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  12. Adam

    Don't use my name... Ever again. Not unless it's for Libertarian glory.

    August 16, 2012 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  13. Walter Jasniewski

    Who cares how much he has paid, the question is what are our politicians wasting all of our tax money on, and how come no one is accountable? Obama blew 800 Billion on stimulus, and it helped out all of his friends, but not the 99.99% of Americans.

    August 16, 2012 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  14. burgett85

    If that's TRUE, then why not release ALL 10 past years for public review? It sounds as if you absolutely have nothing to HiDE, do you?

    August 16, 2012 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  15. Justin

    Wow, 13% slow down there patriot. We wouldn't want you to pay as much as the middle class does. His returns are no real issue? You're kidding right? The man is a conservative they are against minimum wage, health and safety laws and the love to deny subsidies unless it directly benefits them. Call the liberals returners as the conservatives are birthers. America is screwed regardless who wins. Time to learn spanish, cross the Rio and try to get work.

    August 16, 2012 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  16. Brandon

    Is there a reason this jerk pays less in taxes than I do? He makes millions, I make 50k. Our tax bill is probably the same.

    August 16, 2012 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  17. Sandra

    Hey Adam, want to tell the Party of NO to stop blocking every jobs plan the Obama administration has tried to enact? Ryan is no help to anyone.

    August 16, 2012 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  18. Patriot

    Even worse than the Dem's attack ad that says he only paid 14%. What a disgrace and what a joke! On the bright side, less than three months and Romney can slither back to one of his mansions. Obama will stay in the White House where he belongs and all will be well with the Universe.

    August 16, 2012 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  19. marvin

    Wow 13%! I pay a higher rate and I'm retired on fixed income and savings that pay zero return. 13% is his AVERAGE for ten years. That suggests to me that Reade is right and that Romney probably paid zero in one or more years. Romney is lying with averages. If he were honest he would release his returns. This is a guy that doesn't know what sincerity means.

    August 16, 2012 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  20. Mr Mark

    No, CNN, Romney did NOT say he paid 13% in INCOME taxes. He said he paid 13% in taxes. Period. That could include state taxes. That could include sales taxes on the hoard of luxury items he bought. That could be the property taxes he paid on his many mansions. None of that deals with INCOME. Get it?

    BTW – for those of us who make around $60,000 and who pay 29% in taxes on INCOME, 13% sounds like paying next to nothing.

    What a lousy news service you are.

    August 16, 2012 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  21. CT voter

    This small-minded registered Republican wants to see a dozen years worth of tax returns, Mr. Romney.

    August 16, 2012 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  22. hwy9

    Wow. Romney just says this, and expects us to believe him? Wow. What a jerk.

    August 16, 2012 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  23. No more crooks

    It is a question of Romney's basic honesty, he is looking like a crook and should either release his returns or quit and let someone qualified run. Mitt's father must be rolling over in his grave!

    August 16, 2012 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  24. Larry

    Just as soon as the Republicans stop requesting copies of the President's birth certificate, his college transcripts, etc. Then we can all get down to the business of governing the country – oops – forgot to mention the party of NO doesn't want to play until after the elections.

    August 16, 2012 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  25. kathy/Minnesota

    Yeah paul ryan put your hand down and explain the four (4) letters you "FORGOT" you signed requesting stim. money you voted against.....huh? You have never been questioned,challenged,confronted etc. about your lies, now the people of Wis. will see the real "home town" boy.

    August 16, 2012 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
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