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. Kato599

    Do you remember a little something called Obama's birth certificate? He refused to release it despite the right's outcry. "If he just released it, he'd be cleared" but NO he wouldn't. Not until several years into his presidency, after he was elected (hmmmm...) Then he sealed his college records (which is actually very important because it is believed that he may have received scholarships by applying as a foreign student.) He still has yet to release these. My point being...neither candidate is very transparent. At least stop being biased and start demanding that BOTH parties open up. Until we start realizing that both parties smell, we're not going to get anywhere with all this finger pointing!

    August 16, 2012 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  2. CURIOUS

    One has to wonder where a person's allegiance lies when they contribute roughly the same to their church as to their country. Let's differentiate between contributions to charity and contributions to a religious organization actively involved in profit making activities and evangelism.

    August 16, 2012 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  3. Cheri Trilian

    Seeing is Believing Romney! What a reversion tactic! Referring to people as being "simple minded" for being savvy and astute. You must think you are dealing with intellectual inferiors or "something." Isn't that the word you used when saying that you paid out "something like 13.6%" in taxes last year? You were sure precise with that 13.6% for someone who was only guessing! Sorry but you just don't seem very credible. Yes we should be concerned with Iran but lets start with something that's easy to fix.....a full tax discloser from you. The people demand it! If you are not willing to prove what you claim then you are definitely hiding "something".

    August 16, 2012 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  4. job916

    "Pay unto Caesar, what is due Caesr, and unto God what's is due God." so said Jesus Christ ; this chatallan, Mitt Romney is a TERRORIST; he's terrorizing the economy of this Nation, by paying little or no tax at all, and he's proud of it. He finally finds another Paul A_Ryan bigot that will carry out his socio_economic ridiculousnesses. Sorry to say, we American Voters are suckers to those politicians destroying our ways and means.

    August 16, 2012 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  5. Bill Romney

    Why don't you in the media EVER explain that he is being taxed on investment income over and above the ordinary income that he was already taxed at a much higher rate? I doubt many of these wealthy people would take investment risks if they were going to be taxed at the ordinary income rate....I wouldn't.

    August 16, 2012 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  6. Harry Reid

    Hey Romney; put up or shut up.

    August 16, 2012 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  7. acutabove

    For you who do not understand...

    That's 13% of his overall income after lawful tax rebates.

    So add 10% to charities and probably about 33% reinvested to avoid paying taxes on it. HaHa you say? That 33% is what investors often cause seed money that grows the economy and creates jobs. That's why the government encourages it and rebates it! Overall 56% (minus whatever gains the seed money returns).

    August 16, 2012 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  8. GonzoinHouston

    I don't think that releasing the returns would lead to any sort of criminal investigation of Gov. Romney. I don't particularly like him, but I don't think he's stupid enough to run for president with some major in his past. I do think that the voters would be outraged to see all the tax shelters, deductions, and other extreme, but legal, tax avoidance.

    August 16, 2012 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  9. Steve J

    Why won't Mitt Romney release his Tax Returns? Pick one:

    A. He's paid little or no tax on his millions.

    B. They show he was CEO and only Stock Holder when Bain Capitol made millions shipping American jobs over seas.

    C. He hides much of his money in foreign banks to avoid paying his share of taxes.

    D. All of the above.

    Tell Romney
    No Returns = No Vote

    August 16, 2012 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  10. as

    IMO the real reason to not release tax returns – They want to avoid *any* spotlight to fall on *any* of all the sweet tax breaks that very rich people like Mitt and those who controlling the Republican PR can get. If they win, nothing will change, the rest of us, keep paying, and even if the middle class gets a tax cut they will loose disproportional amount on govt. services they do get. If they don't, at a minimum the public has not really seen all the "secrets" and still things continue as ever.

    Look at the statement - real issues facing America "unemployment and nuclear threat *from* Iran" - really Iran. Does anyone remember Iraq? Hopefully Mitt is just pandering to the Jewish lobby on that and actually will not precipitate another useless war/expense unlike Mr. Bush.

    August 16, 2012 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  11. Name: Nancy

    I made 54k last year...single mom. Paid 15.25%...in addition to what was deducted from net

    August 16, 2012 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  12. Doug

    This is not a small issue. Doesn't matter if you're a republican or democrat.

    August 16, 2012 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  13. Reveal the Secret

    I'm probably going to hit the upper tier this year's income tax. Romney should release his taxes so we can also figure out how to hold on to our money as much as possible. 13% sounds awesome. I want learn!

    August 16, 2012 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  14. DudeLebowski

    13% ... really ..... you are the man

    August 16, 2012 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  15. Sarah

    Fine, then you have nothing to hide Mitt. Show them to us.

    August 16, 2012 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  16. DanBun

    This is such a simple issue: produce for public inspection the last ten years of your tax forms.
    Obama has done this.
    The last five Presidents have.
    Romney's FATHER started this, yet Mitt refuses?!
    And he wants us all to trust him that he never paid less than 13%?!
    Prove it!
    And 13% is still less than half what I've paid....
    And I bet he hasn't paid Social Security taxes in the last ten years, either!
    And he wants to "fix" Social Security?!

    August 16, 2012 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  17. josh

    OK obama first you show us all your birth certificate! works both ways. Pretty sure if he didnt pay the irs would be more on his butt

    August 16, 2012 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  18. Mahhn

    If he was telling the truth he would show them.

    August 16, 2012 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  19. Eric

    Are you freaking kidding me? I have to work for every dollar I make. I don't get big interest income, I don't get offshore tax havens, I don't get big inherited wealth, and I SURE AS H*LL don't get away with 13% taxes. It is obscene for someone like that to tell me that Obama is waging "class war based on hatred and jealousy", or whatever crap he's spewing. How can you trolls make excuses for this? You should be ashamed.

    August 16, 2012 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  20. Mike

    I am not surprised by the above posting by Adam... I agree as it nothing more than small minded politics. However, let's be real about such things... How short are our memories when Republicans spent how many hours brooding over a "Obama birth certificate?"

    Why do we not all try and be bigger, better, and more focused rather than petty. Petty is easy. But our issues are not. Step up, Adam. Offer solutions rather contribute to the continued anger and sad regular arguing of the day...

    August 16, 2012 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  21. Peter

    I make a lot less than Romney, yet I pay closer to 25% (and I don't count charity in that).

    August 16, 2012 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  22. davecu

    Harry lied?

    I'm speechless!! (wish he was)

    August 16, 2012 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  23. Frank

    He lied or had a discrepancy with his taxes when he ran for gov in 2002. I really dont see how anyone can take him at his word now

    August 16, 2012 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  24. kb

    @Adam,
    Last time the US had a surplus the Democrats were in power. What do you think happens when you get the US in 2 wars. One justified, one with fabricated reasons and cut taxes on the wealthy at the same time? Then throw in a financial crises brought on by relaxing existing regulations along with poor enforcement of the remaining rules and you get a huge deficit. Seems like the Republicans are always saying one thing but their actions are usually the opposite.

    August 16, 2012 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  25. Jeremy

    I love how the republicans were fixated on something that was proven like Obama's citizenship, and they are still fixated on it, or their fixation on something irrelevant like his grades in college, but they call the Democrats' fixation on Mitt Romney's unwillingness to do what many other presidential candidates have done a waste of time on small issues. HYPOCRISY AT ITS BEST!

    August 16, 2012 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
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