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. HRPuckinfutz

    13% on hundreds of millions of dollars, and he claims he needs further tax breaks for the wealthy?

    August 16, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  2. Wes B.

    Whether it's 0% or 13%, Mitt pays an obscenely LOW percentage. And he wants to make sure the super-rich pay even lower rates. This isn't a secret, fine-print item...he's open about it! Does anyone else see a problem with this? ...especially when middle class Americans are paying a much higher rate.

    August 16, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  3. We Ask No Less of Thee Than You Asked From Them

    "I think the most recent year is 13.6 or something like that."

    Trust me? Does Mitt Romney understand at all what public service is?

    Dear Mitt Romney: You are trying to be elected to serve the citizens of the United States as their President: Not the other way around. When you were selecting a VP running mate, you wisely insisted on seeing "several years" of their tax returns. I am guessing that several years means at least 10 minimum. Pardon us, the citizens of the United States, for asking for the same courtesy that you demanded of the people that were vetted by you in your search for the right candidate to serve as your running mate to serve the public. Clearly you have demonstrated that you know why these types of documents would be requested when making a selection of this magnitude, so I won't bore you with further details. I find you to be many things, but completely ignorant is not one of them. If you insist on hiding your returns from your electorate after demonstrating that you fully understand the vetting process, please take no offense if the electorate declines to give you our vote of confidence in service to our country. I suspect that if Representative Ryan had presented your vetting staff with 1 years of his tax returns and a promise for another, your introduction of your VP running mate would probably have been made in front of different yet equally impressive military apparatus.

    Yours sincerely,

    The People You Wish To Serve
    (Not the Other Way Around)

    August 16, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  4. nash

    Good for you Mitt, I made 75,000 last year and paid 15,000 in Federal taxes, this doesn't incude SSI, Medicare etc...........In other words I paid about 26 percent on an amount you were able to dedeuct for your horse. Such a Proud American you must be...................if your elected your tax rate goes to .082.....Such a Proud American you must be

    August 16, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  5. Emily

    Oh please...the rest of us also contribute to charities, but we don't try to claim that as part of our taxes! He knows 13% is pathetic and is just trying to make himself look better. This guy lies every time he opens his mouth...why should we trust him on anything, much less on running our government. Anyone who wants something as desperately as he wants to be president will do or say anything to get what he wants. And he is not used to being told no. We need to make sure he finds out that the office of president is NOT for sale!

    August 16, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  6. Larry

    The far right expects the country to believe what romney says without proof? Remember 4 years ago when the right didn't believe Obama was a citizen, even after Hawaii said he was and a birth certificate was provided? donald trump stepped in, and said his investigators had uncovered information that the certificate was a fraud, but he never gave anything else. Even now, sheriff joe assshole from arizona has his posse striving to show that Obama's birth certificate is a fraud. Also, this wayne allyn root claims no one remembers Obama from Columbia.

    But romney expects his word to be sufficient.

    August 16, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  7. Ola

    Romney is just beating around the bush. If you can go back to look at your taxes, then you can just release those taxes for the voters to see. Why is it a big deal for Romney to release his taxes? How can you be my president if you are not sincere and honest? Why should I trust Romney with my life if he is so secretive with me? Why is Romney running for public office yet he does not want the public to see his finances and how he made his millions? This is hypocrisy of the highest order!

    August 16, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  8. Wake up People!

    Show us the taxes Willard! Did you once again utilize Son of Boss? If the President of the United States has to shoe a damn birth certificate, I know this weather vane should be happy to show his taxes. Taxes are way more important than a lousy birth certificate.

    The tax issue should remain front and center exactly as the inconsequential birth certificate did.

    OBAMA 2012!

    August 16, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  9. kathy/Minnesota

    The mere fact that mr. and mrs. romney keep coming back and dancing around this issue, says they dont feel the american people "BELEIVE" their lies, otherwise, why would they keep coming back to it? They both appear to be 'very" p'd off when it is brought up, so to put it all to rest.......SIMPLY PROVE IT!!!!!! they sound like and act like they think it is soooooo unfair, hey swiss mitt, HOW ABOUT TALKING ABOUT THE VOTER SUPRESSION LAWS? now that is unfair, and since the GOP decided (after poor uncle joe misspoke again) that they were going to stand up to "RACIAL HATRED" then STAND UP TO THIS ISSUE................EXACTLY, we can see right through this.

    August 16, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  10. anthony76

    THIS will be his "I am not a crook" moment.
    Seems Willards motivation for running for President is so that he can lower his and his rich buddies tax rates even further.
    Hence his rich cronies backing putting up so much money to get him into office.
    He doesn't care about helping out his fellow man, or improving this country or society in general. Nope. Just get in, write laws to allow him to keep more of his money, and take from the lower classes to keep the government running. Yup.
    Send his kids to war? Nope. Send your kids to war? Yup.
    All the while demonizing President Obama.

    The picture is getting clearer and clearer.

    August 16, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    Interesting revelation. Minimum13%, but what's the max? Or what's the average? The fact is, earning what he earns and paying what he says he pays, is NOT attractive to me. How does this guy get off with a slogan like 'Believe in America' when HE believes it is too risky to keep his own money in American banks?

    August 16, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  12. Independent

    @RPE.....again very well said and I completely agree!! The problem is these liberals only care about thier party winning the White House not what is best for the country as a whole, has always been that way! What the country needs is a business savy president plane and simple!!! Obama couldn't run a corner market sucessfully let alone the who country!! And the past 3.5 years are plenty of proof of that!!!

    August 16, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  13. mya

    Maybe 13% is an average of the missing ten years.

    August 16, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  14. Michael B.

    13%? I paid 7!

    August 16, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  15. therealbartonfunk

    ria: So how did you come to the conclusion that Romney as honest? First, it's entirely a different issues reguarding what a political candidate promises and what they deliver. That is pretty well accepted to be about as reliable as what a used car sales person says. Of course, it should matter more, but neither party delivers in this area. But, even then Politifact has the GOP promises kept at only 19% while Pres. Obama is at 37%. That's a lot better. And as far as Mitt Romney just cold lying about things... he has lied about his taxes in the past. He lied to the citizens of his state when he ran for Gov. and claimed that he filed taxes continuously in that state. BUT he had filed taxes twice in Utah to get a tax break. He lied that he was not in charge of Bain when he was actually the CEO. He has even lied about his first name (he has two first names, he says not just one like normal folks). And of course he lied that he had been a lifetime NRA member when he had simply gotten a "lifetime" NRA membership a few months earlier. Romney is just pathological.

    August 16, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  16. Larry

    Notice romney just throws a number out to his admiring public, but doesn't give any hint of what the income was. If you make $20 million, and deduct $19.5 million of that, you'd be happy to pay 13% of the remainder.

    August 16, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  17. grvol

    Biden and most dems give squat to charity. Because like most "compassionate" dems they believe in helping the downtrodden with someone else's money...

    August 16, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  18. Larry

    Independent – our last president had an MBA from Harvard, and ran three businesses (into the ground).

    August 16, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  19. LMC

    I'm not against the wealthy, but they should pay their fair share of taxes and that includes money in offshore and Swiss accounts!

    August 16, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  20. Hey, Mittens got anymore of those 100K jobs at Bain for doing nothing? 'Call Me, Maybe?'

    Why should we add your charitable contributions to your tax rate?

    You gave the contributions to charity so you would NOT pay taxes on those contributions.

    That, plus you want to fund the first manned flight back to Planet/Sun Kolob for the LDS.

    August 16, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  21. us_1776

    Every president and nominee in recent history has shown their tax returns:

    Obama and Biden have shown 12 years
    Clinton showed 10
    Kerry showed 20

    Not just Democrats.
    Bush Jr and Cheney showed 8 years
    Reagan showed 6 years

    Go back to FDR, he showed ALL his tax returns, over 40 years of them.

    NO president in US history has been compelled to show his long form Birth certificate or college records. Romney has shown neither of those. Yet you demand that of Obama.

    Why dont we demand Romney do what everyone else seeking to become president has done, before we demand things of Obama that nobody before has ever had to do?

    .

    August 16, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  22. Jeannie

    Paid 13% on millions, now that's shameful. Typical greed from the wealthy and he's slatted to pay even less than that if the greedy republicans have their way.

    August 16, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  23. Ready

    Tax laws were decided by both Dems and Reps and voted into law, so why blame Romney for policies that your party is 50% responsible for? It's called hypocrisy, get over it!!

    August 16, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  24. Facts R Facts

    Release them!

    August 16, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  25. Woman In California

    Fair is Fair

    GI Joe

    I want to know how he got $100 Million in an IRA. At $5000/year Maximum, it would take 20,000 years. I want to see how he did THAT.
    --
    I don't know how he did it. But one thing is for certain, your numbers don't take growth into consideration. Let me provide you with an example. As you know, IRAs have many ways of investing your contributions. Classic example is the initial investors in Microsoft... if you had invested $10K in Microsoft in 1980, you'd be a millionaire MANY MANY times over right now. I know it's mighty temptimg for someone who despises anything republican to accept... but it can happen.
    ***************

    I don't know how he did it. Neither do we until we see the returns but thank you for coming clean on the subject.

    August 16, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
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