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. Michael Motorcycle

    Waste time? This IS the issue. Mega rich corporations and individuals using the backs of wage slaves to increase their own wealth, while not paying anything close to their fair share. Then they throw up smokescreen issues like gay marriage and other Jesus stuff to get some wage slaves to support them. Marx was right.

    August 16, 2012 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  2. robkman@hotmail.com

    I love it... this is Romneys defense. That he paid no less than 13%. This is the problem. I pay 33% taxes and I am a middle class Joe. No wonder this country is in trouble with people like him taking advantage of every loop hole. This cracks me up. Why would anyone vote for Romney?

    August 16, 2012 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  3. Andrew

    The issue here is not if Romney paid all that was legally owed, but rather if he sees no problem with a mulit million dollar earner paying a 13% tax rate which is less than the rate that a self employed tradesman pays for the employer and employee share of social security tax before a penny of federal income tax is paid.

    If Romney's budget and tax plan and way to fix the Federal Budget deficit and thus the economy is for the working middle class to pay all the taxes and the super rich pay none of them or less than the super rich than he needs to so state, and stand behind this special treatment for he and his cronies.

    I don't object to people gettting rich as it is good for the economy, but I don't think people should get rich by not paying taxes while the rest of us wage earners pay them, and if this is what Romney and Ryan think than they need to stand up and say it.

    August 16, 2012 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  4. tony

    Was that 13% in Swiss Francs?

    August 16, 2012 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  5. Mike

    I think "Trust but verify" is the thought for the day. I would even go so far as to say that Romney probably DID pay around a 13% effective tax rate. My questions are these..... How did he get a $100 million IRA? Did he take amnesty to cover for these Cayman and Swiss accounts? I know all too much about private equity... what about any structured deals he had with Bain? Too may questions to just accept "I paid 13%...." and leave it at that.

    August 16, 2012 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  6. al

    if it ain't in paper it never happened!

    August 16, 2012 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  7. Vincent

    What is it about some people who claim that "Mitt paid alot more mney than most people do in taxes'??
    Of course he paid more. He makes way more than most.
    Mitt paying 2million in taxes compared to someone 10,000 might seem like he paid more. But hes still paying a much lower PERCENTAGE than the average american On top of that, im sure hes also claiming back many expenses that most people would never be able to (such as his horses medical expenses?!?).

    But the thing is, hes doing exactly what anyone would do if the were also as wealthy. Hes using every legal loophole to minimize his taxes. However, what most eople are wondring is if he used any shady practices to lower his taxes, and this is where seeing his actual tax returns would end the debate. Claiming he paid 13% doesnt mean much if hes cheated the american public with shady practices. And while that may be bad publicity for some, and unsurprising from others, for someone running for the highest office it would certainly be a bad example and unacceptable.

    August 16, 2012 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  8. Ja-Coffalotte

    13%, wow! Isn't that less than anyone? So he is privileged. He should go rule one of the countries where his money is.

    August 16, 2012 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  9. geraldhintlian

    I for one am very satisfied with Romney's answer to Reid's outragous claim of no taxes for ten years. Perhaps he is mixed up, and it is HIM who hasn't paid any taxes in the last ten years! That is a lot more believable.

    August 16, 2012 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  10. Tk

    Have you heard the latest. Obama was never at Columbia.

    August 16, 2012 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  11. Bradley

    Who cares about this. No one pays more taxes than they are supposed to. Everyone takes every exemption they can. The amount of money the country would supposedly rake in from taxing the wealthy at a higher rate is insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

    August 16, 2012 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  12. us_1776

    Enough with the diversions, Willard.

    8 years of Tax Returns please.

    In latest poll 71% of the American People want you to show your tax returns.

    .

    August 16, 2012 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  13. Huh?

    Funny how the "Birthers" wasted all this time and money trying to disclaim Obama's right to the presidency. And after the short certificate was not enough, then Donald Trump was brought in and it was fully revealed. And after that Arizona Sheriff's interrogation of it, little to nothing on a way of saying it was a fake.

    With that being said, the shoe is on the other foot now. Just as the "Birthers" did to Obama's birth certificate, Dems will demand ALL of Romney's tax returns for the past 10 years or so. All of it. Every shred of paper, every memo, etc. So, just give the public what they want, Mitt. Get it over with. The longer you delay this, the longer it becomes a story that no one will forget come November.

    After all, if Mitt's tax returns are clean, he has nothing to worry about . . . .

    . . . . . Right?

    August 16, 2012 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  14. DP

    And it took him 13 months+ to tell the American people that he was only paying 13% in taxes. I am sure a bunch of middle class folks paid a lot more than 13%.

    August 16, 2012 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  15. Joe

    He is totally out of touch! I make only $75k/yr compared to his millions and I pay like 32%!!!!! And he makes it sound like paying only 13% is fair?? He is out of touch of what the middle class has to go through! So, as Obama says, the rich are placing a heavy burden on the middle class by paying less taxes.

    August 16, 2012 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  16. Jeff L.

    Show me the Car Fax. However you look at this, whether from the right or the left, Romney paying 13 percent seems to me as strikingly unfair. No, the trust me, or such, excuse isn't enough. I want to see the returns; if not, the benefit of the doubt goes against the Romneys.

    August 16, 2012 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  17. tony

    BTW, the trendous national debt was run up by the obscenely tremendously wealthy and their 100% bought surrogates in Congress. So why don't they pay it off???

    August 16, 2012 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  18. Roberto

    Good for you, Romney! Nothing like gaming the system. Take advantage of those IRS Code dodges and loopholes. That's what Amercia is about. I'm gonna GOD***N vote for you in November. I want to see someone in the White House that's got some smarts! And, by God, you gottem. Ryan, what can I say? What a dreamer! This guy's got what it takes! We need to dump those bleeders off of our tax payers. Welfare? Food Stamps? Ahhhhhh! They're just a bunch of no goods. Let 'em die. If you're smart, like Romney and Ryan, you'd a had a 401K and an IRA set up when you were three years old. By God! I was plannin' on my daughter's education expenses in 1953 (I was born in 1954, but that's beside the point). I'm ready to see this country going "Big Time". Obama has ruined this country. Send him back to Kenya where he came from!

    August 16, 2012 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  19. buck cameron

    I paid 25%. Guess you win Mitt.

    August 16, 2012 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  20. TM

    Last week Willard was SURE he never paid less than 15%. Now it's down to 13%. Wonder what it will be next week. This lying clown made more last year than I will likely see in my entire life, but that's actually ok. He gambled and won. Good for him, seriously. But I paid a HIGHER percentage in taxes on an income that was less than 1% of what he made, and that is definitely NOT ok. Willard, your view of the world seems to be that you and those as wealthy as you deserve all the breaks you get, and those of us who work for a living get to be treated like dogs. And we KNOW how you treat dogs.

    August 16, 2012 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  21. allenwoll

    It's OK, Mr Ro-Money : Life is hard for EVERYONE ! ! !

    Go get a glass of Koch !

    August 16, 2012 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  22. mdell27

    13%? He just lost himself the election. Most of us pay double that.

    August 16, 2012 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  23. jean

    If it is indeed true that he paid at least 13%, then there shouldn't be problem in releasing them. Unless, of course, there is something else in those returns that he would rather we didn't see. What could possibly be there that could be so horrible?

    August 16, 2012 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  24. BCJonah

    13% of what is really the question of the day...

    August 16, 2012 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  25. writermom16

    Wow. 13%. Thank you Mitt for doing your fair share.

    August 16, 2012 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
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