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. US Tax Payer..

    Show what that 13% taxes are Mitt!...Sounds fish to me!

    August 16, 2012 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  2. icepole4

    Hey Mitt...PROVE IT!

    August 16, 2012 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  3. Tracey Hummel

    Let's trade: Romney's tax records for Obama's College transcripts and financial aid records.

    August 16, 2012 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  4. Thirteen percent

    How can you be in the 1%, pay 13% in taxes, and yet still feel your are qualified to be president?

    August 16, 2012 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  5. Debbie

    Don't Tell me, Show me. Words are worthless. The proof will be in the taxes.

    August 16, 2012 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  6. juju

    Romney paid 13% taxes, will us working folks pay about 21% in taxes. I think that's horrible considering he makes over 100 times what the average person makes but, is paying about 40% less in taxes. Yeah, I see who is going to benefit from him being in office, surely not you or I. The trickle up effect at its best.

    August 16, 2012 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  7. US Tax Payer..

    We want to see the tax returns Mitt. It's just not the democrats, but all of US wants to see what you paid in taxes!

    August 16, 2012 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  8. Brian Smith

    Charity is not a tax. Anyway, without the returns for proof, he could just as easily say he never paid less than 20% tax, or 30% tax, we just have to 'take his word' for it.

    August 16, 2012 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  9. Greg

    WOW if Mitt said it it must be true!!!!!

    August 16, 2012 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  10. retief1954

    Oh well, guess we'll just have to take his word for it, since, you know, he's such a trustworthy, consistent guy.

    August 16, 2012 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  11. Faber McMullen

    I demand to know what President Obama has paid over the last 10 years. We must know. When will he release his tax returns?

    August 16, 2012 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  12. Robrob

    "...and if you add in addition the amount that goes to charity, why, the number gets well above 20%."

    Since when has charity (to the Mormon Church) been the same as "taxes?"

    August 16, 2012 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  13. Chief1719

    you continue to make yourselves look foolish with regards to economics and taxation.  Romney doesn't have a job.  he has already made many millions of dollars.  He pays a HIGHER tax rate than you for employment income.  He is making all of his money on investments which is capital gains.  He also pays a far higher tax rate on capital gains than you do.  The reason for lower taxes on investment income is to encourage people to reinvest their personal wealth back into the economy.  He doesn't have to.  He can simply keep all of the millions, not invest in anything, and not pay any taxes at all.  We need people like romney to invest in our economy.  Sometimes his investments go overseas but that's the advantage of living in a free country.

    August 16, 2012 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  14. soul68

    There was a time in this nation when paying your taxes was considered a patriotic duty. Those days are long gone...

    And I guess people like Mitt love the idea of spending trillions of dollars to defend our way of life but hate having to pay for it either in blood or money.

    August 16, 2012 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  15. pflatman

    Adam

    "Wow, the Democrats in office sure do know how to waste time on small issues."

    This is no small issue. A presumptive presidential candidate asking the American people to trust him, when there is NO reason to trust him? Do you really believe his challengers in the primaries trusted this sleazeball?

    August 16, 2012 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  16. gmenfan54

    Hey Mitt! Say anything you want. Your history on Election Day.

    August 16, 2012 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  17. serdich

    Adam
    Wow, the Democrats in office sure do know how to waste time on small issues. Does anybody want to lend some extra time to fixing unemployment or maybe paying down the debt? Anybody?... Anybody? Paul Ryan, put your hand down. I'm trying to find any Democrats who want to help with this.
    ================
    Remember the birth certificate..how fast we forget..you may try to forget but will not, remember all the blocks, fillibusters, birthers, Bush...

    August 16, 2012 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  18. faye62

    He needs to prove it...What's he hiding? He could be in a lower tax bracket than he's claiming or no tax bracket at all. I don't want a rich president in office looking out for his rich buddies and having the so called "middle class" paying for it.....The banks got away with robbing us blind and the last thing we need is more of that. If "Gramm-Leech-Biley" hadn't been pushed by the Republicans and sign into office by Clinton in 1999, we wouldn't have this mess now..Deregulation should not exist in a capitalistic society.....All you get is the oppressor taking advantage of the oppressed...Romney is just going to finish financially raping the rest of America and the only people who want him in office is the 1% so that they continue hording their greed at any cost to the average working man. It's not impossible for it's hard for a rich man to enter the gates of Heaven and I see why.

    August 16, 2012 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  19. DJones

    No Democrat actually believes for a moment that Romney failed in any way to pay all the taxes due on his return. They know he is compliant with IRS codes. They just want to divert attention away from Obama's failed record and they are looking for information they can twist and lie about.

    August 16, 2012 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  20. Daniel

    So big deal, you payed 50% less than most of the rest of did and that is something to be proud of? You wonder why the majority have distain toward you. You really are to tragically funny Mitt.

    August 16, 2012 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  21. Dude

    I feel much better about Mitt now. We both pay exactly the same tax rate of "at least 13%". I mean he pays 13 point something and I pay about 18%, but they are both "at least 13%".

    And adding "charitable" contributions? I want to see that itemized. The "sending a bunch of kids all over the world to convert people to our religion so we can convince them to pay 10% of their income for life or face eternal damnation" fund is not what I consider charity.

    Curing diseases, rescuing abandon and abuse animals, helping people get jobs, feeding the hungry and so on, is what I consider charity.

    When you add in that kind of charity, I pay closer to 25%. If we allow the "Cultural genocide fund" as a charity, then Mitt and I again pay exactly the same tax rate of "Well above 20%". He pays 20.000000001% and I pay over 24%, but both are over 20%.

    When I am working a 12 hour overtime shift to pay for my mortgage, it would be comforting to know that the president is paying more than I have ever made in a year to board his prized horse. See we are both the same kind of "I have to move bags of money to get to my bathroom" kind of guys.

    But, I do have a few hundred dollars saved up in the bank. And I have to thank Romney for that. If he hadn't moved his money to Switzerland, The Camen Island and where ever else, there would not be room in the bank. Thanks for taking one for the team.

    August 16, 2012 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  22. Jason D

    open up your tax returns and prove it..if your wrong your fired and arrested for conspiricy to defraud the electorate.

    If theres no problems then releasethem..the same as your dad..or to you was he a moron more then a mormon...howabout explaining how you stashed $100m in an ira..nobody else in america has managed that one..explain that.

    Maybe you can add it to you tax plan, healthcare pan, medicare plan, military spending plan, education plan. etc, etc, etc

    August 16, 2012 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  23. faye62

    He needs to prove it...What's he hiding? He could be in a lower tax bracket than he's claiming or no tax bracket at all. I don't want a rich president in office looking out for his rich buddies and having the so called "middle class" paying for it.....The banks got away with robbing us blind and the last thing we need is more of that. If "Gramm-Leech-Biley" hadn't been pushed by the Republicans and sign into office by Clinton in 1999, we wouldn't have this mess now..Deregulation should not exist in a capitalistic society.....All you get is the oppressor taking advantage of the oppressed...Romney is just going to finish financially raping the rest of America and the only people who want him in office is the 1% so that they continue hording their greed at any cost to the average working man. It's not impossible but it's hard for a rich man to enter the gates of Heaven and I see why.

    August 16, 2012 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  24. Smart Potato

    "At least" in his mind? Wasn't he born in Caucasia? BIRF CERTIFICATE! BIRF CERTIFICATE!

    August 16, 2012 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  25. Tari Lolovoli

    Romney makes 10000 x what I make and only pays 1/3 the taxes I pay?!?! String him up by his balls! Eat the Rich!

    August 16, 2012 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
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