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. Chris

    I hear Romney sayi "13%", but what I don't hear him say is, 13% of WHAT? Never once does he say that he paid 13% of his ADJUSTED GROSS INCOME in FEDERAL INCOME TAX. Because he didn't. That's how politicians are - they lie by telling the truth...carefully. Furthermore, don't think for a minute that the money he gave to "charity" went to poor people. It went to the Mormon church, and to other "charities" that are just as big a sham as the ones Muslims support.

    Besides, I made a fraction of what Romney made, and I paid a heck of a lot more than 13%.

    August 16, 2012 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  2. Carl

    Adam, while federal spending is probably too high, much of the deficit can be directed attributed to large tax cuts given to the rich who are paying the lowest tax rates for at least the last 60 years. If your salary is cut that will affect your economic situation just as much as going out and buying something you cannot afford. They have the same effect on the deficit. Romney and Ryan are running on a platform which includes lowering taxes even further for the rich. Sorry, this is a big issue.

    August 16, 2012 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  3. josh223

    Wait. He actually had to go back and look to make sure he paid taxes?

    August 16, 2012 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  4. Eric

    Was his 13% on his original returns? Or after he aended his returns, say, like maybe last month? Let's have a look at the original returns, as well as amendments and IRS actions on his original returns...

    August 16, 2012 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  5. lg1

    @ Adam
    Paul Ryan doesn't have his hand up. His plan continues the same deficit spending. What Romney is hiding is the fact that he did not pay taxes on the money he had in foreign accounts. Don't you think the public has the right to know if a person running for president is a felon.

    August 16, 2012 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  6. fedupwithgreed

    This is an important issue. The have-nots will always be the have-nots in our current political climate. However, the chasm between the middle class/upper middle class and the 'elite' (1%ers) is widening more and more. Romney reeks of greed.

    August 16, 2012 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  7. justdoit

    Show us your 10 years tax return proving your credibility and I'll consider the tax case closed. (Now you kinda know how Obama felt about, "Show us your birth certificate." Payback is a beach – ain't it?

    August 16, 2012 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  8. Slowgun

    "Any politicain who will not show multiple years tax returns may be hiding something" – George Romney

    Mitt, hold yourself to the same standards your dad held other politician to.

    August 16, 2012 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  9. Jim in PA

    Remember when conservatives pretended they wanted a flat tax? Then they decided it was more fair if they paid a lower tax rate than the middle class. Stay classy, Mitt.

    August 16, 2012 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  10. bro

    and you don't see anything wrong with that and the majority pay a third of our income

    August 16, 2012 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  11. Daculia

    Ha! I think it was a cagey way to get Romney to reveal the very low percentage that he did pay...which was about 17% lower than the rest of America. I think all politicians are just power mongers that see the presidency as the biggest prize they can win. It's all a lot of bollocks!

    August 16, 2012 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  12. DesertDwlr

    Small issues? I'd like to know before I vote for somone for President what tax deducations he has made and what tax loop-holes he has used in order to have a lower tax rate than MOST Americans.

    To me this says a lot about leadership and personal attributes and integrity.

    August 16, 2012 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  13. juice

    So paying 13% in taxes is pretty good. Why in the world would he wants to be a president and change anything? Is paying 13% still too much?

    August 16, 2012 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  14. smallmouth6

    Show us!

    August 16, 2012 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  15. Alex

    It's always the small issues that seem to have the most resonance. Romney doesn't release all of his tax returns which is going again the unwritten rules. Obama didn't release his birth certificate until recently. All in all, pretty lame on both sides. But even if Romney releases his tax returns and they corroborate that he's given 13% in taxes, people still won't completely buy it, just like there are still people who think Obama isn't a natural US citizen.

    August 16, 2012 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  16. hah!

    I believe him. Get a life Democrats. With the crappy economy, you certainly have more important things to worry about. But of course you are trying to create a sideshow where none exists, because you have nothing to offer.

    August 16, 2012 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  17. steve p

    To quote President Reagan, "Trust and Verify" Show us the taxes.

    August 16, 2012 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  18. Allan

    Republicans these days thinks they can fool us....hhaha Mitt Romney has only released 2010 and 2011 tax info but nothing else before......hmmmm woww sounds like there is some truth to what the Democrats r saying....

    ohh sounds like the mighty rich and greedy of wall street>>>=MITT ROMNEY

    August 16, 2012 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  19. proudmemberofglobalzero

    This is to Adam. How do we pay down the debt without revenue? These are taxes!!

    August 16, 2012 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  20. Rosstrex

    Still no returns.... Only in America can the rich run for office on their terms. If we had a poor man running you can bet he would have gladly given his returns at the first request (if he was honest). We have Romney who is dictating what the American Public gets to see regarding his past payments in taxes.

    What could possibly be so bad that he cannot disclose?
    What makes him think that the electorate will be fine with this?
    I could care less about his money what I would like is a sense of fairness.
    I pay 20.96% of my income in the form of taxes.
    Why am I singled out to pay more than Mr. Romney?
    Is it the magic underwear? Is it the Kolob deduction that Mormons get?
    I guess I'll never know because Mitt won't give us his returns.
    Too bad

    August 16, 2012 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  21. voodkokk

    Looks like REID is the horse's patoot again.

    August 16, 2012 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  22. I do not Care Anymore

    I really don't care what percentage he paid. 13% is higher than what most of the bottom 50% pays. And besides, if he is giving money to charities and spending the saved money elsewhere, WHO CARES????? As long as SOMETHING gets invested into the economy, WE ALL WIN. Spending money in the private sector begets jobs, which begets prosperity for more people. And no, these rules do not apply to stimulus packages.

    August 16, 2012 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  23. kamakiriad

    Why does this guy not show his tax returns? There is no reason to hide them. He signed them and presented them to the government like the rest of us. Be a man and show them like every other candidate has, Republican or Democrat, for the last 40 years. This guy has sniveling coward written all over him, and I won't even consider voting for him until he meets the same standard as all other candidates that have sought the highest office on the planet.

    August 16, 2012 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  24. Eve

    Small issue? Wow, Adam, you're still out of touch after all these years. Maybe even moreso than Mittens.

    PS – Wanna a bite of my apple?

    August 16, 2012 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  25. Dan

    So, despite being worth well over $100 million dollars he still pays a lower tax rate than I do. I'm sure the Cayman Islands really appreciate his business though. What a role model.

    August 16, 2012 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
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