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. Pr

    13 percent?! I paid 40 percent the same period. I need to get me one of those fancy tax lawyers and save me some money!

    August 16, 2012 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  2. Funk

    btw, shame REPUBS Shot down the jobs bill...wasting time? Go look at what THEY have done...here, I'll save you the time:

    Have the republicans completely lost their minds?!?!?!?! We just tried to pass a bill that rewards companies for bringing jobs back to the USA and penalized companies that ship jobs away, and THE GOP VOTES NO!?!?!?!?!

    In the last 3.5 years, the GOP has introduced:

    46 bills on abortion
    113 bills on religion?
    73 bills on family relationships?
    36 bills on marriage
    72 bills on firearms?
    604 bills on taxation?

    NOT 1 BILL ON JOBS!!!...  and... they blocked the American Jobs Act...and now they refuse to give incentives for Companies to HIRE AMERICAN. 

    The GOP will destroy this country just to make sure Obama doesn't fix their 8 years of incompetence and negli
    gence.

    August 16, 2012 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  3. Google man

    Why should he release them – really the only people that care have already decided to vote for Obama. Most of america doesn't care.

    August 16, 2012 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  4. jky54

    If I was Mit I would only reveal what I had to by law...as sure as he would reveal any more than that all you envying dems will cry "he's out of touch he is so wealthy. Problem is all your leaders are to they made their fortune on your backs.

    August 16, 2012 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  5. cathy

    We don't believe you!!

    August 16, 2012 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  6. NFL1

    13%?? I'd love to pay only 13% in taxes...I only make about 50K and I don't get to count any charitable donations! Give it up MITT, we have to see why and how you got down to only 13% – you lost our trust by delaying and not being forthcoming!

    August 16, 2012 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  7. Dave

    Adam: I'm glad you think a person's basic integrity can be classified as a "wasting time on small issue." This guy makes Nixon look like one of the good old guys. I think if you open your eyes you would find any and all Democrats trying to pay down the deby and fix unemployment...the problem is you can't see them because for every one of them there is a republican blocking their good efforts. The problem is not the Democrats but rather the republicans who are hurting America in order to make Obama a one term president. You should be ashamed to call youself a republican.

    August 16, 2012 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  8. dtadeem

    This is a FACT! There is no confusion, there is no argument. Every major candidate for president of the United States has, historically, released multiple years of Tax Returns; except for Mitt Romney! WHAT IS HE HIDING FROM THE AMERICAN PEOPLE? ~ ~ ~ Why would you even entertain the thought of listening to a man THAT IS OBVIOUSLY HIDING SOMETHING FROM YOU and tells you he's going to continue to hide certain matters from you?"

    George Bush released 17 years of tax returns, Obama released 11 years, Clinton released 12 years.

    August 16, 2012 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  9. silentcount

    My boss has been cutting back and laying off employees because he didn't trust Obama. He'll immediately start expanding and hiring if Romney wins. There are many (most) other business owners who feel the same way. For this reason alone, the economy will instantly improve if Obama doesn't win. Please, don't vote for him.

    August 16, 2012 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  10. Dan

    Adam,
    I am a democrat and I know how to help fix all the problems facing the nation, it is simple. Replace all of the obstructionist in Congress with people who want to solve problems rather tha create them.

    August 16, 2012 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  11. Liverspot-66

    Prove it Mittens...

    13 percent is a lot lower than the 30% I paid.

    August 16, 2012 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  12. Cindy

    Boy, MItt, I hope that didn't hurt too much. Glad my "more than 13% of my income tax dollars" help make your life a bit easier.

    August 16, 2012 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  13. you are all so jealous

    Everyone who wants to see his returns is pathetic, and jealous of his success. You really think you would pay more than you were supposed to by law if you had succes and an accounting firm filing your returns for you? Investments are taxed at different rates, ask any accountant. He is just smarter with his money than all you whiners. Get over it. At least he paid taxes, go after all the losers who didn't pay any of their taxes (obama has a lot of friends in that area). Again anyone who posts about what he did or did not pay is jealous and you would probably be too stupid to understand his returns unless they were explained to you by someone in he know anyways. Get a life you jealous pathetic people!

    August 16, 2012 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  14. Wiz

    Harry Reid is devoid of ideas, and can't talk on the issues. Glad Romney called his attempted Trump card. At 13% of his income, he's clearly paid more Fed Tax than the lower 48% of Americans COMBINED.

    August 16, 2012 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  15. np

    Romney says he experienced frustration with accusations from Reid. LIAR!. If he was frustrated
    why did he wait so long to clear the air...he was playing game! By the way what does the average
    American pay for taxes?

    August 16, 2012 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  16. Jack

    This is just like birthing issue, they will be those will only believe what they want to believe!

    Welcome to the real world of big time politics.

    August 16, 2012 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  17. scott

    So Romney thinks the fact he paid less than 1/2 (13%) what the average worker pays in taxes on his $20 Million in income is something to boast about? Jesus, talk about arrogant and out of touch!

    August 16, 2012 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  18. Really?

    When all is said and done and Romney proves he has outspent Obama, Biden and Reid on taxes and charity the die hard liberals will still be making up stupid stories to try to smear Romney and Ryan.
    Romney/Ryan 2012 before we turn into a third world country.

    August 16, 2012 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  19. Preacherguy

    So...if he was able to make such good use of the tax code – does that mean he has used the savings to create jobs – as he claims the ultra wealthy do with their tax benefits? If so, those are the numbers I would like to see – just how many living wage jobs has Mr. Romney created with the proceeds from his persistent 13% tax rate – and I mean in this country – not those shipped overseas where a "living wage" is deamed to be less than minimum wage here.

    August 16, 2012 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  20. local

    What a joke, Romney pays a lower percentage in taxes then the average middle class American citizen. He speaks as if he is proud of it and in the same speech he wants to lower the tax rate for the wealthiest 5 percent. And we are seriously considering electing this bozo.

    August 16, 2012 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  21. FrustratedVoter

    Talk about double counting!!! Charity is tax deductible, and no matter how complicated are the taxes, there is always an amount reported.

    if it is not an issue.. show those boxes!!! god I hate politicians

    August 16, 2012 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  22. supersam

    Harry,I'm waiting to hear an apology from you !

    August 16, 2012 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  23. Johnnyboy

    It's funny how this guy plays right into the hands of the Dems. Does he not realize the more the subject is brought up the more people will want proof? Unfortunately for him, his words aren't proof. He should have nothing to hide and this should be a slam-dunk! Show us the papers my friend or you're not fit for the Office.

    August 16, 2012 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  24. RepublicanVoter?

    @Adam

    Mr. Romney is asking for my vote to become our next President. Whether or not Mr. Romney has received amnesty from IRS for hiding assets in Switzerland is no small matter to be. He will loose my vote if he did.

    And if he does not trust me the voter to fact check him by me seeing his tax returns, I will not be in a position to, as he asks, trust him. And he will loose my vote.

    August 16, 2012 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  25. Michelle

    Yeah, and I own the Grand Canyon Mitt. Trust me, I don't need to show you my deed.

    August 16, 2012 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
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