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. Concerned

    Please tell me Obama is going to campaign on more than Romney's taxes. The 50 percent of people that get up to go to work everyday could care less about Romney's taxes. It is the economy. Obama has had four years with horrible results. Obama has go to go.

    August 16, 2012 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  2. NoTags

    I believe a lot of Americans including myself would like to know if Romney participated in the 2009 FBAR amnesty program. Show the American people your tax returns like your father did.

    August 16, 2012 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  3. KF

    Demorats need to get a life! OBama is lost as last year's Easter Egg! Oh Biden! Put your people back in chains! If Romney would have said that the LIBERAL Media would have gone over the edge! This country needs to wake up and get this clown out of office and restore the office to someone who knows what the hell they are doing! Clinton said, "ITs the Economy Stupid"! WAKE UP AMERICA! TIME FOR A CHANGE!

    August 16, 2012 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  4. 0rangeW3dge

    And did I mention?

    "They call him Flipper, Flipper, faster than lightning,
    No one you see, is smarter than he,
    And we know Flipper, lives in a world full of wonder,"

    August 16, 2012 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  5. Miles

    Seriously he is bragging about paying 13% in tax at least... Thats how screwed up our personal tax system is when a near billionaire is complaining that he payed 13%. I mean really? With charitable contribituions i paid 20%, what are you a hero now? That is still absurdly low for a man that made as much as he did.

    August 16, 2012 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  6. Saboth

    13%? I don't care what the law says about capital gains, that's too little for one of the richest people in the country. This is why he doesn't want us to see his taxes, the 1%ers don't want us to see how they game the system. We peons have to pay 15, 20, 25% because we don't have offshore tax shelters and we get paychecks instead of getting paid in stock options like Mitt and his kin. And then there's the whole issue about how Mitt managed to magically grow his IRA to 100 million dollars in 10 years while the rest of us are limited to 16k every year in our 401k and 5k in our IRAs.

    August 16, 2012 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  7. JC

    If the Republicans had their way Romney would not pay any taxes. They want to get rid of capital gains tax which is how he makes all his money. His tax rate would be 0 percent. Of course the rest of us will pay 25 – 30 percent and of course this is in our best interest because it creates jobs right?

    August 16, 2012 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  8. jean

    If it is indeed true that he paid at least 13%, then there shouldn't be a 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 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  9. Wowed in MN

    Look at the 2011 Income Tax Tables... if ROmney paid 13% in taxes he is in the same racket as someone whose taxable income is 22,000. So he paid less than ANYONE with a taxable income MORE than that.... Does THAT sound like he has paid his fair share of taxes??? I know I paid 3 times the tax rate that Romney paid but I am not wealthy – I am strapped with huge medical bills that i struggle to pay off... I am obviously not going to vote for R&R...

    August 16, 2012 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  10. Donna

    I make far less than Romney and paid at least 18% and lost 48% of my annual bonus.....something is just not right here. Wake up America........................

    August 16, 2012 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  11. Daculia

    I love the cover on Time magazine's 8/13 edition: a sign that says For Sale – Asking $2.5 Billion. And below the sign How to Buy the White House. When you only pay 13% in income tax, I'd say the sale price is within your budget.

    August 16, 2012 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  12. belinda

    That's less than the average Middle Class Tax Payer pays . That's Disgusting.

    August 16, 2012 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  13. Steve Phillippo

    Ya 13% on the 100k he claimed probably. The rest is a write off from shelters, overseas investments, and pure bs.

    August 16, 2012 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  14. tardsarestupid

    Pathological liar and the fuctardican minions are in denial in trying to ignore it. He never said he paid income taxes and he didn't. Carefully though out by the master liar. Every working stiff in this country making over 60k and less than 250k paid at least 29% in personal income taxes before losses. And at that rate of pay you don't have enough in losses to make any difference at all. The master liar paid his taxes on capital gains at best. You can bet there are writes offs because of the crash the fuctardicans caused in 2007 that allowed him to ultimately pay nothing. You fuctardican minions that support this pathological liar and the gop are the stupidest people in this world.

    August 16, 2012 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  15. Kareen

    If thats what you did Romney, PROVE IT!!!!!!!!!

    August 16, 2012 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  16. bob

    that's what was happening before Bush took office

    August 16, 2012 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  17. Martimar

    Flat tax! At a percentage rate equal to what I paid last year! :P

    August 16, 2012 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  18. cuk

    still a lot less than i pay, as well as my wife. but we're not job creators -we're just humble peasants lucky to make rent and put food on the table.

    August 16, 2012 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  19. DixT

    OK, NOW let's talk about Obama's "lack of transparency," which covers his entire life! Ya can't expect more out of Mitt Romney, than Obama has given about himself!!! And I'm not talking about tax returns, either. EVERYTHING about Obama has been FAKE-COMPOSITES-if you get my drift. Let's bare it ALL to the public, once and for all, shall we?

    August 16, 2012 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  20. Jeff

    Mr. Romney, I paid 28% I know how many cars I have, I mow my own lawn and when I take a vacation I have to save for it and plan my time off. I'll show the world the last 37 years of my tax returns. How about you?

    August 16, 2012 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  21. peter

    13% is Infinitely better than 0%. Wonderful!

    August 16, 2012 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  22. sf

    Something is seriously wrong with this picture...so if i make millions in investments i can be excluded from paying higher taxes while the rest of us work hard as slaves and we pay a higher "income tax" rate? this is outrageous!

    August 16, 2012 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  23. Matthew

    "Since there is substantial reason to doubt his claims ..." ??? Um, there is absolutely NO reason to doubt his claims. The only evidence is that Harry Reid, a Senator who has not shown his taxes himself, claims that he got a call from a Bain investor who said that Romney hadn't paid taxes for 10 years. How stupid do we have to be to think that Mitt Romney didn't pay taxes????

    August 16, 2012 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  24. s.ghosh

    13% on 21Mil income and never got audited once in 10 years???
    Some thing seriously wrong with this picture.

    August 16, 2012 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  25. Christopher

    Here is a suggestion to fix the debt. Have people like Romney pay their "proper" taxes. How does he get away with paying only 13%? I make under 50K a year and pay over 20%. Romney is paying a lower percentage than someone that makes 40K a year.

    August 16, 2012 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
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