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. Jiovanni

    What a jerk
    I paid 20% and did not made 100K neither years. This guy is stealing from all of us, the middle class.

    August 16, 2012 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  2. wjeri

    13% while making 20 million? Tell me how it is done?

    August 16, 2012 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  3. William

    "..."I did go back and look at my taxes".

    As a CEO and Governor he should have had a bank of accountants who told him this years ago. He makes it sound like he dug up his 1040EZs out of the closet.

    August 16, 2012 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  4. olepi

    At this point, any talk by Romney about his taxes is just digging the hole deeper. If he won't release them, then all his talk is termed "bluster", and that is usually the sign of a losing hand.

    August 16, 2012 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  5. Gary Johnson For President

    It must be nice only paying thirteen percent. I would rather have Obama than this crook. Hopefully people will rise up and vote third, fourth or fifth party, instead of letting these two corrupt parties run the show. Democrats want to be your mother, Republicans want to be your father, and Libertarians just treat you like an adult. Go Gary Johnson!!!!

    August 16, 2012 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  6. David

    If Romney can tell us the low tax rate he paid, he should have no problem letting the people see his tax returns. Not releasing them and picking and choosing what numbers he gives out, gives the impression he does not want to show other parts of his tax returns. Does he think by giving out numbers that the people are going to believe him. He most likely will continue to lose more ground in integrity and credibility until he releases the tax returns, for all the years he now is citing.

    August 16, 2012 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  7. jay

    Seeing is believing is what I say. Mitt Romney, if you want people to trust you....don't act like a con artist. Show your tax returns. What do you have to loose?

    August 16, 2012 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  8. Tamaster

    Gee, I'd sure like to pay 13%.

    Guess I'm not rich enough to be paying LESS taxes.

    August 16, 2012 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  9. Dave

    Fine Mitt, now prove it.

    August 16, 2012 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  10. Tony

    Mit Romney keeps stating that he went back a few years to check on his income tax. If it is that easy for him to check why not go ahead and post the informaion for us to see. I am not going to chance my vote on him until he comes clean.

    August 16, 2012 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  11. bernard

    I paid 28% – making the same amount of $ he carries as packet change. I also donated to charity. A true leader wouldn't claim his charitable contributions – or even mention them – to gain credibility. His charitable contributions must have helped lower his taxes to 13%.

    August 16, 2012 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  12. Adam

    Really sad to read all these comments. People just don't know what kind of a tax system they have. It is not progressive, it's regressive – the rich pay a smaller portion of their incomes than do the poor – since the rich hire lawyers and CPAs and do tax planning and take dividends subject to 15% dividend tax instead of salaries that are subject to federal income tax, which is indeed progressive. So, the rich end up paying some 15% or less, and people who actually work pay some 25%-30%. And the Republicans are arguing that the rich are paying too much and need tax cuts. You decide whether this is right.

    August 16, 2012 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  13. Steve

    On adjusted or gross income...LOL

    13%, what is that.. an adjusted income of $35,000?

    Take heed, as Governor of Mass, salary was about $140,000.

    That, itself is a 35% tax bracket.

    I know..Deductions would lower that but then again was that his only income?

    And reduce it to almost 1/3rd?

    August 16, 2012 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  14. Brian

    And still Obama team wants the actual returns. Let's have both sides reveal. Romney shows tax returns, then Obama shows Fast and Furious papers, PLUS his grades from Occidental which justified admission to Harvard.

    August 16, 2012 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  15. MaryM

    Romney, this is going to dog you until the election. Trust you? Nope The American people do Not trust you.

    August 16, 2012 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  16. skarphace

    Two paths face Americans this election:

    1) continue the recovery, as 'weak' as the Republicans say it is, or
    2) go back to the policies that caused the Great Recession in the first place.

    The choice is ours. The consequences of choosing wrong will also be ours.

    August 16, 2012 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  17. debrah

    WOW, you sure are mixed up with that comment. Who has wasted time on small issues, such as: Pres. Obama's Birth Certificate & etc. Get a grip Adam!

    August 16, 2012 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  18. K3Citizen

    Prove it.

    August 16, 2012 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  19. wealthcoaches

    I just bought a house with a VA loan. I tried to tell them that I had paid my taxes for the past 3 years, but guess what? They wouldn't trust me – they had to SEE my tax returns!

    If the VA wouldn't trust a Veteran about his tax returns, why should I trust Romney or anyone else? Show them to us...

    August 16, 2012 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  20. Nameless

    I'm still at awe over the strong out cry from people to force a man to release his personal tax records. So what if he only paid 13% (minimum). Most of his income is from investments which is taxed at a different rate than federal income tax. Don't forget money used to invest was already earned and has gone through income tax,.

    To alll of you complaining about paying a higher tax percentage, I bet after your mortgage interest, children, school, medical and donation deductions you pay a much lower percentage. Go find something else to get angry over, this is propaganda at it's finest in an attempt to deepen the rich vs poor war.

    August 16, 2012 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  21. Missy

    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 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  22. jack Blast

    Romney paid a smaller percentage in taxes than I did and I made far less than he did last year. Demo or Repub, the typical American family who have both parents work to make ends meet has to find something wrong with this. The fact that this is legal is what's troubling. What's wrong with having someone who makes millions pay the same percentage that most reading this pay? I will get a raise in January and will probably still pay a higher percentage than most millionaires. I am not saying the rich should pay more than their fair share, just pay the percentage that I do. Does this not seem fair? I am not saying Romney would not be a good president, but not many politicians can look any of us in the eye and say helping the average American is their top priority. They have incredible health care, retirement, and remember when the budget crisis was happening and the troops sacrificing were on the verge of not getting paid? Our politicians did not worry, they were not going to go without those very nice salaries (174k+ for less than a year of work). Our only hope is if Americans truly get involved in the political process en mass and treat these people as OUR employees.

    August 16, 2012 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  23. ed

    Must be nice....... The rob my paycheck before i can swindle it away...

    August 16, 2012 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  24. Daniel

    I truly believe Mitt you have absolutely no idea how to communicate with the average American. You are to removed in that sphere of the elite and powerful that you dare not lower yourself to relate to the common man.

    August 16, 2012 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  25. LogM

    Only one question to Romney – "What are you hiding from the American people by not releasing more tax returns?"

    August 16, 2012 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
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