Romney pays extra taxes to keep his word, and break it too
September 21st, 2012
03:13 PM ET
6 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. Common Sensus

    But seriously, after spending years setting up shell corporations in Bermuda, offshore bank accounts in the Caymans, and secret swiss bank accounts all to hide and shield income from US taxation, now that he's running for POTUS he pays MORE than he really OWES?? Does anyone trust this desperate, flip-flopping flake to be POTUS? The only thing more stunning than his idiocy yesterday, is his idiocy today.

    September 21, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  2. Ann

    The guy makes 13.7 millions, pays 1.9 millions in taxes and 4 millions charity which means he ends up with about 57% of the initial amount, and you are still unhappy? Obama made $790k in 2011, paid $160k in taxes plus $170k charity, which means he kept about 58% of the initial amount. Lets not discuss that the Obamas actually had no major expenses because these are paid by taxpayers. The Romneys contribute almost 20 times more than the Obamas to taxes and the community, and you criticize Romney? Is this happening in America?

    September 21, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    "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?"

    CNN was just purposefully using confusing language to say something that is actually extgremely simple: Mittens used the legal loopholes and deductions that are available to him because of his extreme wealth, but that the rest of us will never ever be able to take advantage of.

    September 21, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  4. nonnasway

    CNN's Ashley Killough writes:
    (a) Mitt and Ann Romney took steps to pay more in taxes than he had to last year. 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.
    (b) 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.
    She says the Romneys COULD have had a lower tax rate if they had taken more/all of their charitable deductions. But then she says Romney kept his legal requirement lower than what it could have been. SO WHICH IS IT, Allison? Legally, Romney COULD have paid LESS taxes, but didn't. Effectively he kep his tax rate HIGHER than it COULD have been.
    The Romney's DONATED 30% of their income last year. They PAID MORE TAX than they were legally obligated to. How many of you here condeming this action donate 30% of your income and pay more taxes than you are legally obligated to? My guess would be damn few. Good Lord, what hypocrites.

    September 21, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  5. rob

    This cracks me and so many others up. CNN has gone over to the reelect Obama side so badly that the only people watching it are from the 40% who may vote for Obama in November. Of course, CNN is hoping the 40% will increase their status in the cable channel ratings as they lag way behind Fox in viewership. Maybe the folks at CNN should review the professional journalist's pledge at

    September 21, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  6. Curious

    Could Romney still amend his 2011 return in the future (when the heat is off) to reclaim the amounts that he appeared to underclaim this time or has he given up his rights to amend his 2011 return in regard to those claims? Perhaps someone who knows these things can comment. Also, a summary of the returns of the last decade or so do not mean much. It would have been better if he had released even just 5 years of his returns instead of just summaries which no one can check.

    September 21, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  7. truth hurts

    MITT ROBME DRAFT DODGING, TAX EVADING POS - so effectively the govt is funding the mormon church
    Typical leftist defective brain pattern. That was ROMNEY'S money, NOT the governments!! Romney helps fund his church, as do millions and millions of others for their their religion. Did you realize it WAS the reason people set off to come here centuries ago?! To freely practice their religion. You lefties have some sort of mental problem when it comes to religion and who owns money that they make.

    September 21, 2012 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  8. slalja

    Well, I'd like to see your tax returns... you libs keep straying from the real issues of our nation.

    September 21, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  9. ZimChick007

    My husband had to provide 5 years worth of history and tax returns to sponsor me for citizenship. Surely MORE should be required of one who is applying for the position of POTUS!

    September 21, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  10. S.Dhayaparan

    Romney is hiding the truth. His Account firm is sneaking and cheating the American Public.

    It seems Romney has paid average of ~14% tax only for the last 10years. (Comparatively lower rate than a person
    earning ?~75,000
    per year)

    Romney doesnot want this truth to come out.

    From 1989 to 1999,(before the Bush's tax cuts) he would have paid 28-30% as all others Americans with over ?~75,000/yr net income.

    That's why he is releasing a letter with the 20 years average of 20%, to give an false idea to the public.

    As the public has short term memory, and forgotten the past tax rates, and familiar with the current tax rates, they may think Romney has paid 20%, a higher rate than the average Americans.

    He would have been adviced by the firm that releasing the last 10yr tax return is suicidal.
    His sneaky accountants went back several more years before "Bush's tax cut ERA", and increase the average from
    14% to 20% and releasing just a letter of "truth".


    September 21, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  11. Howard

    1. How much has Obama paid in taxes ?
    2. How much has Obama given to charity ?
    3. How much of hard working tax payer's money has Obama squandered?
    4. How many jobs has Romney created
    5. How many jobs has Obama lost ?

    September 21, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  12. myviewis

    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.

    I have a strong feeling you are one of the 47% that has never filed taxes, I doubt you could read anyone's tax filings, even the simplest ones.

    September 21, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  13. anoel2005

    it's so disheartening that here in America (" the land of the free") we have to listen to the slander of a man like Romney who pays millions in taxes according to the law, gives a lot to charity, and is a man of principle & integrity according to all who know him.
    The ignorant electorate is being bamboozled by the liberal media , who want to inflict the former drug abuser & Socialist Obama on us AGAIN.

    It's a Sad day in America.

    September 21, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  14. v_mag

    Ann – You missed a couple of things. If we don't even consider anything but your figures, Mittler KEPT 11.8 MILLION DOLLARS! President Obama kept $630 thousand, if you're figures are correct. That's about 1/5 of what Mittler kept.

    So, Mittler winds up keeping 5 times more than the President, and we're supposed to feel sorry for Mittler? He KEPT about 200 times as much as I kept. You think any sane working person would not gladly trade incomes with Mittler, even if he had to pay 90% of his income in taxes? Even at that rate, I'd be keeping far more than I am now, and I've worked hard all my life.

    They say it's not who votes but who counts the votes. It's also not how much you make, it's how much you keep.

    September 21, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  15. TheVoice2

    He still only showed a summary of his tax returns. We want to see his " blind trust" that has his offshore bank accounts. But he won't show us that. How the hell did he get away with only paying 14%??

    September 21, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  16. M-W-T

    EVERY republican on here knows that......MITT ROMNEY IS THE WORST REPUBLICAN ON THE PLANET.....for POTUS.
    WE don't TRUST him......and ......WE will NOT VOTE for Mitt Romney.

    September 21, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  17. Howard

    1. How much have YOU paid in taxes ?
    2. How much have YOU given to charity ?
    3. How many jobs have YOU created for others ?

    September 21, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  18. n

    Romney and his clans are counting on the gullibility of the people and the blind eye of the media as he try and slip this one through the cracks. I have never witness a more passive group of journalist in my entire existence. How they let Romney slide on his taxes, even though all others candidates have been forthcoming with detailed tax returns. It's not the people who are oblivious to the fact that we are lost sheep being lead to the slaughter, no it's the corrupt media and the political system, that we have trusted for years, who are leading us like the pied piper, first, he got rid of the social advocates and now they are getting rid of the innocent children who represent the middle class.

    September 21, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  19. v_mag

    Sorry, Obama kept 1/20th, not 1/5 of what Robmoney kept. What I meant was 5%, not 1/5. Hey, that's even worse than what I said!

    September 21, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  20. teatbag

    Good to know Mr. Romney is good at cooking the books. Just the quality this country needs in its Commander in Chief..

    September 21, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  21. jk from MN

    The question I wonder is how much income is shielded off shore that didn't make it to the return. That would equate to Welfare for the top 1%.

    September 21, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  22. Facts don't Lie

    ok so to play the "birther" do we know these are his REAL tax returns? If they can be stupid like that why not the rest of us.

    September 21, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  23. Peik

    I would like to see Obama at the wheel when we hit the iceberg. You'll still be arguing about the endangered woods the lifeboat is made out of when we sink.

    September 21, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  24. Rudy NYC

    He reneged, just like I predicted it. This was all done for show. Romney should release returns going back to what he was prepared to release during the 2008 campaign, and everything since. He needs to listen to his father, America has.

    September 21, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  25. cnnmembuh

    It doesn't surprise me that there are still liberal accusers and haters who, in the face of stark facts, cling to their accusations and hate.

    September 21, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
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