Romney pays extra taxes to keep his word, and break it too
September 21st, 2012
03:13 PM ET
2 years ago

Romney pays extra taxes to keep his word, and break it too

(CNN) – Mitt and Ann Romney took steps to pay more in taxes than he had to last year, despite the Republican nominee's previous statements suggesting he abhors the idea of paying more taxes than required.

According to an announcement by the campaign Friday, the Romneys could have had a lower tax rate than 14.1% in 2011 if they had claimed more of their charitable deductions–an amount that equaled 30% of their income. Romney made $13.7 million mostly off of investment income last year.

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However, the Romneys only claimed 16% in charitable deductions, thus keeping their income tax rate higher, in order "to conform" to Romney's previous comments about his tax rate, the statement read Friday.

Speaking with reporters in South Carolina last month, Romney said he had never paid less than 13% over the last decade. While he had released an estimate for 2011 at the time, he did not release the completed return until Friday. The document showed he in fact paid 14.1% last year.

The Republican presidential nominee has faced intense criticism from Democrats and some Republicans who have called on Romney to release more than his 2011 and 2010 returns. Releasing the documents, they argued, would answer questions about the candidate's offshore accounts and tax history.

His move to limit his charitable deduction-and keep a higher rate of taxes-last year, however, seems to butt heads with statements the former Massachusetts governor has made regarding taxes.

"I don't pay more than are legally due and frankly if I had paid more than are legally due, I don't think I'd be qualified to become president," Romney told ABC News in July. "I'd think people would want me to follow the law and pay only what the tax code requires."

Earlier in the year, at a Republican primary debate in Tampa, Romney made a similar remark, criticizing the notion of paying more than owed.

"I pay all the taxes that are legally required and not a dollar more," Romney said, one day before he released his 2010 return. "I don't think you want someone as the candidate for president who pays more taxes than he owes."

To be fair, Romney did pay what he "legally owed" last year; he just kept his legal requirement lower than what it could have been.

Romney's campaign responded to the discrepancy, saying the candidate wanted to be "consistent" with his August comment.

"Gov. Romney has been clear that no American need pay more than he or she owes under the law. At the same time, he was in the unique position of having made a commitment to the public that his tax rate would be above 13%. He directed his preparers to ensure that he is consistent with that statement," a campaign official said in a statement.

– CNN Political Producer Rachel Streitfeld contributed to this report.

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Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney
soundoff (193 Responses)
  1. DJ

    now, about those obama transcripts????

    September 21, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  2. Woman In California

    To be fair, Romney did pay what he "legally owed" last year; he just kept his legal requirement lower than what it could have been.

    Can you say stupid a little louder?
    Obama/Biden 2012

    September 21, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  3. A Desperate Situation

    Things are beginning to close in on Romney and his supporters. I don't think Romney is competent to run for President. The man does not know which end is up. He is in big trouble and knows it. He has to be one of the most mixed up people running for President. I think he may be senile because he is contradicting himself.

    September 21, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  4. HOLY TIGHTY WHITIES WILLARD

    "I don't pay more than are legally due and frankly if I had paid more than are legally due, I don't think I'd be qualified to become president,"
    ---------------------------------------------
    You SHOULDN'T be allowed to run for President because you have money in TAX HAVENS!!!

    September 21, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  5. Ricky

    $leaze man.

    September 21, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    Flip flop, tied in a knot.

    September 21, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  7. myviewis

    So Romney followed the law......."To be fair, Romney did pay what he "legally owed" last year; he just kept his legal requirement lower than what it could have been".

    I think Democrats won't care regardless of what Romney says or shows them, the donkeys will find something wrong to complain about because they need to defend Obama's lousy job performance and will attempt to convince voters that Obama couldn't do the job because of Republicans regardless that Obama had a Democrat Congress and Senate for 2 years.

    September 21, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  8. Dyslexic doG

    Why do people make a fuss about Romney donating to charity?!?! All of that money goes to his cult, the Mormon church. It's just marketing to turn more people into Mormons, nothing to do with charity.

    September 21, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  9. Common Sensus

    In other news, GOP Vice Presdiential nominee Paul Ryan is set to attempt to run a marathon in under an hour and swim the english channel in the same day to...uh..."conform" with statements he made earlier as well.

    September 21, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  10. Sammy Sosa

    The last sentence makes no sense to me.

    "he just kept his legal requirement lower than what it could have been."

    How did he manage to do that and still call it legal??? And if what he did in fact was legal, why is this an issue?

    September 21, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  11. NVa Native

    "Romney pays extra taxes to keep his word, and break it too", the essence of Romoney captured in one sentence.
    What a clown.

    September 21, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    "So Romney followed the law"

    Nobody was ever arguing that he didn't or wouldn't, so you can shove that straw man up...the river. The point is what his taxes reveal about the favoritism, special treatment and advantages the tax code gives to ultra-wealthy do-nothings like himself. The only possibility that he was operating outside the law...and it's a strong one...was the foreign bank accounts, but the federal gov't provided people like him amnesty for it a few years ago, so it wouldn't exactly be correct to say he was doing anything illegal there too, although it would still highlight just hwo unpatriotic and how little he cares about contributing his fair share to the country.

    September 21, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  13. SKKKKooool

    We dont want notorized latter stating that you paid taxes for the past 10 yrs, we want to see the tax returns. How about posting a notorized letter stating I intend to vote for you but not showing up on election day to actually vote.

    September 21, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  14. jmmjr49er

    When will Harry Reid apologize? It appears Romney paid lots of taxes and gave away lots of money unlike Obama and Biden combined their whole adult lives in 1 year.

    Liberals love to spend others money. Socialism is easy and takes zero thought because profits are evil.

    You didn't build that!

    September 21, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    "now, about those obama transcripts????"

    Sorry, the signage was a little confusing. The comment section for racists dogwhistling about affirmative action is over there -->

    September 21, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  16. SKKKKooool

    We dont want notorized a letter stating that you paid taxes for the past 10 yrs, we want to see the tax returns. How about posting a notorized letter stating I intend to vote for you but not showing up on election day to actually vote.

    September 21, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  17. The Real Tom Paine

    -myviewis

    So Romney followed the law......."To be fair, Romney did pay what he "legally owed" last year; he just kept his legal requirement lower than what it could have been".

    I think Democrats won't care regardless of what Romney says or shows them, the donkeys will find something wrong to complain about because they need to defend Obama's lousy job performance and will attempt to convince voters that Obama couldn't do the job because of Republicans regardless that Obama had a Democrat Congress and Senate for 2 years.
    **************************
    Actually, we do care about what he says. Its interesting that, for such a self-proclaimed economic expert, Romney has no details about what he would to help the exconomy, other than lower the tax burden for his big bundler donors. How does that help me? Answer: it does not. Romney is one who needs to make the case as to shy he deserves to be president, and, given his awful performance as a candidate, I would not let him near the WH.

    September 21, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  18. SKKKKooool

    We dont want a notorized letter stating that you paid taxes for the past 10 yrs, we want to see the tax returns. How about posting a notorized letter stating I intend to vote for you but not showing up on election day to actually vote.

    September 21, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  19. John

    Ashley, this is a terribly witten article that shows bias to the Democratic party. CNN should fire you. I came to CNN to read the news and issues at hand, but instead read a one sided story from an non professional writer. Thanks for the waste of time. John

    September 21, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  20. NVa Native

    So after all the insanity of shameless ignorance and arrogance displayed in the repub primaries – this is the best the GOP can come up with??
    A truly amazing display of incompetence blended with false bravado.

    September 21, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  21. v_mag

    So, is this supposed to take the heat off for all those years of tax returns he's hiding? Doesn't work for me. I want to see at least 10 years of full tax returns and have accountants go over them like they went over every other presidential candidate's returns.

    SHOW US THE TAX RETURNS! Don't try to buy us off with a few bucks chipped in the kitty.

    September 21, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  22. Boo

    DJ – would you shut up already about Obama's transcripts? You cons are ridiculous.....YOU'RE RACISTS.

    September 21, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  23. Joan in MS

    "However, the Romneys only claimed 16% in charitable deductions (instead of 30%), thus keeping their income tax rate higher, in order "to conform" to Romney's previous comments about his tax rate.

    "His move to limit his charitable deduction (to only 16% instead of 30%) -and keep a higher rate of taxes-last year, however, seems to butt heads with statements the former Massachusetts governor has made regarding taxes.

    "I don't pay more than are legally due and frankly if I had paid more than are legally due, I don't think I'd be qualified to become president," Romney told ABC News in July.

    – – – – – – – – – –

    There ... he said it ... he's proved it. By his own standards, he's not qualified to be President.

    Romndy is the most inept person to ever run for the highest office in the land.

    September 21, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  24. Boo

    Liberals hate success. Hopefully most of it is just envy but with the Democratic party these days and their socialist tendencies they actually think they deserve a portion for just being.

    September 21, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  25. Marie MD

    I want to see the actual tax filings for the last ten years. What he asked of plate face. I don't believe one iota of what these two claim about their taxes, their lives and their trials and tribulations.
    Twit, this reminds me of you, after years of having your lawn maintained by illegals, realizing that you are running for president for pete's sake, you can't have any more illegals working for you until you lose in November.
    @myviewis, this also doesn't count all the money he has in the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and Luxembourg. You are delusional (pun intended) if you think that your lousy little 47% salary or money means a hill of Mexican beans to him.

    September 21, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
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