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. Larry

    I make less than $100K per year and I pay around 35% in income taxes. Notice that Romney was careful to not specify that what he paid was all "income" taxes. He's not being clean on this one. Show the records, Romney, we are not letting this slide.

    August 16, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  2. Peace

    I can't imagine how independents thinks about Romney on this issue of his Tax Returns, as they are more smarter than the rest of us who belong to one party or the other.

    August 16, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  3. ElhannonVA

    Outrageous. I don't think a word of it is true. But if he did pay only 13% over the last 10 years, while out country was at war with terrorism, he is not fit for Commander in Chief. Disgusting.

    August 16, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  4. Independent

    @Stetson....VERY well said!!!! Thank you, these people sound rediculous!

    August 16, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  5. RobK

    A ten year period that started when Mitt was 1 year old. Harry was technically correct.

    August 16, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  6. Love

    He tried this when running for Governor, too.
    Unbelievable.
    Just release the taxes, Mitt – so we can have an honest debate about tax policy

    August 16, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  7. dnokc

    The hypocrisy is incredible! How about Mitt shows you 1 year of IRS data for every year of college data he requests?

    August 16, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  8. Tea Party Traitor

    Prove it, Mitt, release your taxes. He's been on 3 sides of every issue, who knows when he's telling the truth, stretching the truth, omitting stuff, making stuff up, who the heck is he really anyway?
    All I know is he pays a lower percentage in taxes than I do, and thinks that 370 thousand dollars in speaking fees is peanuts.

    August 16, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  9. joseph

    The correct headline would be: Romney makes another unsubstantiated claim.

    August 16, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  10. Daniel

    So Mitt pays 13% as a multi millionaire and has proposed to cut that percentage even further for the top 1%. The rest of us in the middle class are paying on average 22% are better, would someone PLEASE tell me how that is fair? I do not understand why is he paying 50% less than I am. The rich in this country are so damn greedy that they hire lawyers to find loopholes in the law so they don't have to pay their fair share. It is a wonder that this does not make more Americans angry.

    August 16, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  11. Getitright

    13%?? I paid 24%!!! and NO, contrubutions to charities ARE NOT TAXES. I keep wanting to like this guy, but he just keeps making it harder and harder. So now, Pres Obama will win by default, again.

    August 16, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  12. demwit

    How many years of tax returns do presidental candidates have to show according to the constitution??

    August 16, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    "Harry Reid said "A 10 year period," not the last 10 years. Also– Charity = Your Mormon church. That doesn't count as tax. You cannot justify paying just 13% by coupling that with a 10% REQUIRED donation to your Mormon church."

    It's funny. I seem to remember Willie Nelson (love ya Willie!), when he got in trouble for tax evasion, trying to argue something about "yeah but I did all this charitable stuff with it." He spent time in jail. That's not to say Mittens will or should spend time in jail...just to highlight how much the IRS and normal, sane people differentiate between taxes and charitable contributions.

    August 16, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  14. shocked monkey

    rla, you clearly made up your mind how Obama would do in 2008. You are simply trying to manifest your prophecy with vague assertions about mistakes you think he has made without citing any. You want a pariah? Fine, find a mirror.

    FWIW Romney didn't say it was FICA he paid. Everyone pays SS + Medicare. Yes, even those worthless 47% that pay NO taxes and mooch off of the teet of the glorious "job creators".

    August 16, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  15. Veteran from New York

    @ andytobo

    Mr. Andy, you're totally missing the point as an American, a little education will do you very good. The fact that Mitt is running for the Presidency of the United States, he should at least had faith in the business of this great Nation. Instead, he let greed take him over to invest in Cayman Island, Bermuda, Luxemburg, Swiss all in the name of not paying taxes. He should be an embarassment to himself and to this Nation. By refusing not to show his taxes examplified the caliber of person that he is. Can you ever imagine President Obama invested his money overseas for not paying taxes. The same shoulf go for Mitt Romney. He is a whimp with no integrity. He's not qualify for the Presidency of the United States. Period.

    August 16, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  16. cali girl

    But wow, he gets a deduction for 1 horse in a value of $77,000.
    And my goodness, the average american family of 4 does not earn $77,000 in wages.
    Even better, a news report out today said 26 companies, like Citi Group, AT&T, Oracle, received more tax breaks back and paid CEO's MORE than that.
    Example, the CEO of TELECOMs group AT&T Randall Stephenson earned 18.7 million for his salary, while his company kept 420 million in refunds. That is 420 million that the Federal Government did not get.
    Seem fair, not really, and a vote for Robmey, the Sheriff of Nothingam will tax the poor, so he can give his CEO friends more money for their fat pockets.

    August 16, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  17. marjee123

    With all the lies, the flim flaming and flip flopping Romney does who in their right mind would believe anything he tells. And if a person is truthful, loves this country, wants to help the economy grow and create jobs ...why in Hades name is he putting most of his money overseas and offshore so he doesn't have to pay taxes which would help this country. So right there you know he is lying. He hasn't released his tax returns since 1994 or 95 and he stalls when asked to. So if he isn't hiding something why all the secretcy. there is something in those tax forms that is very damaging indeed.

    August 16, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  18. Tinisha

    People dont forget that when Romeny was running for governor of Massachuettes that he said that he had paid taxes in the state but them once his returns were released it was found that he did not pay any taxes for the state and he had to amend his tax return. This man is a pathelogical liar and I would not bellieve anything that came out of this man's mouth even if it was notartized. The Obama campaign is correct. Prove it Mitt! The real proof is in the pudding and unless we see the actual returns your word is not good enough, Mr. Rubberband Man.

    August 16, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  19. One of the workerbees

    Well, I pay at least 26%, which is double of what you're paying Mittens. And Mittens matches my annual income in less than a week. While he's running for President (aka...not working at all).

    Which I guess just makes me another sucker who does nothing more than make the American economy go...so that Mittens can sit on the top in his yacht and ponder how he's so much smarter than everyone else.

    Man, I wish my day had given me a bunch of millions to invest...

    August 16, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  20. Wes B.

    Middle class Americans pay WAY more than 13%. Whether he pays 0% or 13%....it's still a sign that the tax code favors the very rich. This is a problem, America. Why is a billionaire paying less than an average middle-class person? Why?

    August 16, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  21. sweetjazz3

    Breaking news: Mitt Romney revealed that he is the winner of last night's Powerball jackpot. Due to privacy concerns, he will not be disclosing the ticket to anyone else. But he did go back and check that his numbers do indeed match the winning combination. He has privately asked lottery officials to electronically deposit the winnings in his bank account on the Cayman Islands, or as he calls it in public, his patriotic, red-white-and-blue, apple-pie-and-baseball American bank account.

    August 16, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  22. amigay

    Wow, poor Romney always getting piled on. And to think I had to pull $30k out of my retirement fund this year to pay my 28% 2011 tax bill.....I sure feel sorry for the guy.

    August 16, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  23. WildMontana

    He says 13% as if he's proud of how high that percentage is. GIVE ME A BREAK!. He makes more than 250x what my family does and we pay well over 20%. Something is really wrong. And I'm not sure I believe he paid THAT much. Show us the returns.

    August 16, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  24. Andy Smith

    In response to IDontBelieveIt

    Wasn't it Reagan that said trust but verify? What's wrong with the American people verifying his taxes? And the fact that Obama didn't say that business owners didn't build their business and Romney is pretty much "lying" about what Obama did say, doesn't bode well for his trustworthiness. Obama said "That bridge, you didn't build that", not your business. Unless you, by yourself, built the roads, bridges, electrical infrastructure, etc that customers, workers, business owners, suppliers etc use to support your business, Obama's statement is not incorrect or a lie.

    August 16, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  25. Sniffit

    "Biden could not lead a party of ants with honey on his shoes"

    They tend to stop at the first footprint and work on that one rather than chase after the shoes. I'm pretty sure it wouln't work even if it was Mittens' clown shoes and all the extra honey it would take to coat them.

    August 16, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
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