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. 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 |
  2. clarke

    13% on what kind of income. That is what happens when you have money. 13% on his kind of money is a lot of tax, I guess. I will have to do the math.

    August 16, 2012 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  3. Patrick

    No, Mittens, you absolutely do not add in the amount your church requires you to give them. Pathetic.

    August 16, 2012 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  4. borisjimbo

    Wow, that much.

    August 16, 2012 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  5. Drew

    So at $65,000/yr, a larger portion of my annual income goes to taxes than does Romney's. Incredible.

    August 16, 2012 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  6. John

    It's a matter of credibility now and that will not be resolved without full tax form disclosure.
    Makes me think that he is adding up all his taxes in that 13% number – Federal, State, FICA, etc.
    He is really blowing it. If he could so easily look over his tax returns and provide a % paid number, what should we think about his insistence to not release those easily accessible forms. Each time he skirts an issue my trust of him keeps dropping lower and lower. He is either hiding something he does not want the public to see or he is a fool for not releasing them. Either way, its not good. At this point, even if his taxes are squeaky clean, his poor judgment in managing this situation is enough by itself to deem him unfit for my vote.

    August 16, 2012 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  7. silentcount

    13% of a billion dollars is way more than 35% of my salary. Plus I didn't create hundreds of jobs so the government could collect income tax from other people as well. I can see the economy improving immediately with Romney as president. I know my boss will be more willing to expand his company. He was cutting back with Obama because he didn't trust him. Plenty of other business owners who felt the same. Please, don't vote for Obama.

    August 16, 2012 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  8. Truth seeker

    Hey, Romney! Release those tax returns and PROVE that you paid taxes. If you do not, we will keep assuming that you are lying.

    August 16, 2012 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  9. Growing Frustration

    Why do Republican's constantly claim that tax breaks for the wealthy will mysteriously lead to economic growth for the poor and middle class? We've tried that for the past 10 yrs with the Bush Tax cuts and the only the REAL growth has been in the personal balance sheet of folks like Mitt Romney,Sheldon Adelson, and the Kohn Brothers, while the rest of America has been caught in a cycle of suffering. The people trying to minimize this reality are donating millions to the Republican candidates. The frustration is wearing me thin!!!

    August 16, 2012 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  10. Seth Sharon

    Look at all the Libs go nuts in trying to see how much Mitt payed in taxes, but do any of them care that the unemployment has skyrocketed and that we have crushing debt in this country? Nah, let's all play into the machines brainwashing scheme.

    August 16, 2012 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  11. 1bogey

    Was that personel fed tax or include state? What deffered income went unreported? On top of that why 13% ,the effective rate is 28%.

    If I can teach my cat to dance, could I posibly depreciate his purchase price and treat his vet bills as a businesss expence? Who knows when cat dancing will become a sport?

    August 16, 2012 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  12. Mimi

    Why do I pay 36%?????

    August 16, 2012 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  13. Michelle

    If he can state for sure what the minimum he paid was, why won't he release them? His words are nothing more then hogwash. Stupid of him to make that comment about what he says he paid because now he just put himself in a corner. He has no reason not to show them now that he himself says he paid at least that. He has to show them now to prove Reid wrong or it looks like not only did he not pay 13 percent or more, but that he lied about it.

    August 16, 2012 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  14. Lenny Pincus

    Mitt never said income taxes. He and his wife avoid that term like the plague.

    Paul Ryan has never said his plan will pay down any debt. He was unable to provide even a guess as to when the budget would be balanced. In fact, his plan increases the deficits.

    August 16, 2012 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  15. Sam

    how about that Obama birth certificate sage

    August 16, 2012 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  16. NanH

    Gosh since I don't have "foreign tax havens, offshore shell corporations, and a Swiss bank account" and made $100,001.00 last year I got to pay about 24% in taxes, can't wait for next year! Maybe I'll get to pay even more, doesn't matter who wins, Joe Blow always gets screwed.

    August 16, 2012 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  17. Achireko Kwagyan

    Mr. Romney, you probably paid even more than 13% in taxes, prove it by simply releasing Returns already in your archives

    August 16, 2012 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  18. steve

    birth certificate or tax returns, turn about is fair play repubs!!!

    August 16, 2012 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  19. John John

    Wow... so paying a pitiful amount in taxes isn't what he is hiding. And giving huge globs of money to his church is the same thing as paying fair taxes. Romney logic is pretty messed up.
    What could he be hiding in those taxes that is worse than paying a far less percentage than the average middle class family?
    A person runs on a platform of "I am good at business!" and won't show you how he is good at business.... I am guessing he is into some pretty shady stuff.

    August 16, 2012 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  20. Michael

    Yeah... small issue. The man made many millions of dollars and paid a much lower percent than I did at 43k. Sounds like he paid his "fair share" to me. Maybe if I made more money I could find ways to avoid paying taxes as well.

    August 16, 2012 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  21. Funk

    Average person making 20.00/hour...pays 19%

    Average person making 10.00/Hour pays 22%

    MR OUT OF TOUCH
    No wonder he doesn't want to show them, this atrocity as well as hidden money...there's Mitt (R)Money.

    August 16, 2012 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  22. Jim

    And I paid 40% . . . . but you can't see my returns!

    August 16, 2012 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  23. Kay

    Hey Adam...Romney says he has a plan for creating 12 million jobs in 4 years. Then why hasn't he shared *that* with us??? We need those jobs *now*...not *if* he is elected.

    So he won't show us his tax returns...just tells us to "trust him". And he won't tell us his plan for creating 12 million jobs...just tells us to "trust him".

    Ask yourself this...if you went to the bank and needed a loan, would *you* refuse to provide specifics? Would *you* just say "trust me"?

    Don't forget, this is a guy who claimed he was a resident of both Utah *and* Massachusetts at the same time. Then had to go back and amend his Utah tax returns, pay the additional money and penalities...and "retroactively" state he was *not* a Utah resident, just like he "retroactively" retired from Bain Capital.

    Sorry, but I *am* a Republican. And, frankly, I do *not* trust him. I want specifics. Or I will *not* vote for him.

    August 16, 2012 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  24. James Mn

    Well, the we are not going to believe a word that Mitt says until we see the proof. So you sir need to put up, or shut up.
    (Not that I will believe a word Mitt says) Will never trust a man who calls himself successfull by putting folks out of work and raiding their pension money. That to me is a crook plain and simple.

    August 16, 2012 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  25. bob

    I am not against lowering the capital gains rate. Why should I have to pay taxes on money that I invested to work for me? I am providing for my own future so that I don't have to rely on a system that will not be around when I retire.

    August 16, 2012 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
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