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. Sid Branson

    If we were all as generous as the uncaring Romney's, the world would benefit greatly!

    September 21, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  2. Jake

    Come on, this is a hand job. This guy has over 100 million in an IRA, hundreds of millions in trust accounts for his sons, and God knows how much more he has in his shell companies abroad, in the Caymans, in Bermuda, and in Swiss Accounts.

    He paid a little more this year than last year to look a little more honest, that's all. If he wasn't running for President he would pay a lot less with all his loopholes.

    September 21, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  3. cnnmembuh

    What's Harry Reid got to say about this today?

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

    Yes Ann, maybe you should read the article again! "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."

    September 21, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  5. n

    It would be the icing on the cake if Romney real taxes were leaked, showing that he took part in the government amnesty program for all tax cheats who hid their money in off shore accounts just to avoid paying true taxes.

    September 21, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  6. Namelinda

    Yes, that's nice. Trying to offset all the years of not paying taxes like a freeloader don't care for self or

    September 21, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  7. FrankinSD

    I don't think that we need to go back ten years to find what Romney is hiding, or even five. Just one more year back would do it. That would show he took advantage of a 2009 tax amnesty program for people with undisclosed income from Swiss bank accounts. I'd love to hear some of the mainstream media ask him about it.

    September 21, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  8. Anita

    So in other words, if he wasn't running for President and his tax rate hadn't been questioned then his rate would have been lower than the 13%. Kind of fits into the notion that he remakes himself according to how the wind blows.

    September 21, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  9. LJH2012

    Hey Mitt what did you pay in 2001 to 2009? Show us those tax returns!
    Remember to Vote for Obama/Biden and the straight Democratic ticket on 11/6/2012 and restore sanity to the government and defeat those who's only wish is to defeat Obama, even if it means destroying this country.

    September 21, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  10. Josh King

    After reviewing his tax return, I have a question: What is all the fuss about? People made a HUGE deal about him keeping these secret for months. Now that he released his tax returns, it shows that people were just paranoid and wanting to hate on something completely baseless.

    He is paying a significant amount to charity and is still paying 14%. He is receiving MUCH less from the gross income than probably 99% of us on here do. Besides, who wouldn't get their CPA to find all the deductions in their tax return? Anyone who says they do NOT hunt for deductions is just kidding themself. I find every damn loophole and deduction in my tax return every year.

    I swear, some Obama supporters would rather bash than be logical. [smh]

    September 21, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  11. Frankie

    We don't know how much he has in Cayman Islands as well as other tax havens. He engineered his taxes to fit his not paying less than 13%. The reason he payed more was to keep his word, otherwise, if he didn't pay extra, which is why he probably asked for an extension, was otherwise, his effective tax rate if not paying extra was 9%.

    September 21, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  12. GregOPauls

    I hope that these facts shut up the demo-craps, as usual republicans contribute more to charities that support demo-craps and all they can do is complain. Go ahead and tax the rich more they will lower their own taxable income and layoff more demo-craps to make up the difference. look into your representatives tax rate and contributions before questioning anyone else...

    September 21, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  13. Atasha

    I agree with Ann:
    The Romneys contribute almost 20 times more than the Obamas to taxes and the community, and you criticize Romney? Is this happening in America?
    The way CNN is presenting the news is very bias. The way CNN is covering pre-election is very bias. Don't feel comfortable reading CNN, too visible affiliation

    September 21, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  14. john

    News Alert Ten days ago on 9-11 our embassy and ambassador were attacked and 4 american's murdered. It has always been pretty self evident this was a"Terror Attack". Not about some movie. But, your network seems more enthralled that Mitt only paid $ 2Mill in taxes. Why are we not asking if and when the Pres. is going to address the terror attacks, and why for the last ten days he has either been willfully misleading the American people, or how they got it so wrong... for so long!

    September 21, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  15. nc_mike

    Wow, how charitable to pay Uncle Sam more than necessary so....you didn't have to tell the American people your effective tax rate would have been 9% – just so it didn't look bad for this election. Geeze! Those prior years tax returns must be a doozy!

    September 21, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  16. paulr50

    You libs complain whrn he doesn't disclose his taxes and when he does. What do you losers want? It's none of your business, you are just nosey and envious of people who work for a living and make decent money. Gave more to charity than Obama, Biden, Pelosi, Reid and probably all senate dems combined.

    September 21, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  17. ted

    You Libs are Mental.
    So did he pay to little taxes or not? What was the question again?

    Like petty little condo chihuahua pesky bark yapers.
    I think yall bark incessantly., just to hear your crap reverberate off the walls.

    September 21, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  18. paulr50

    Obama supporters are idiots becasue it's in their genes.

    September 21, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  19. jackie treehorn

    Romney doesn't care what you people think... it's the thoughtful 5-8% of undecideds that matters... and today many of them were helped in their decision... the polls are tied (credible polls) with 80% of undecideds going to the new guy... obama's toast!

    September 21, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  20. Not Ann

    @Ann

    As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. "I tell you the truth," he said, "this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on."

    /justsayin'

    September 21, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  21. dd

    Do you want a President who is not smart enough to follow the US Tax Code, mostly created by taxing Democrats? If you elect someone who doesn't understand the US tax code, you are electing a moron who will screw you. Like Obama! Democrats made the rules; they pass the big tax bills. Smart people can avoid some of the gross moronic taxes and they do. Ignorant people don't- so what? Obama wants the Bush tax cuts to be abolished screwing everyone! But the rich will get around this. They will move their money to countries that want investment capital to support more jobs. They will get it. Meanwhile, Obama is screwing the US middle class. Small business capital just moved out of the country because of tax laws. An empty chair is not capable of running a country. Call the oval office. Ask for the leader. Ask if the person in charge of the US economy is working today. You will get an answer. The chair is again empty. Callback in a few months, at 11 AM on the 2nd Wednesday of the month. He sits in his chair that day.

    September 21, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  22. Really?

    Keep blaming Mitt for the circus of a government we have. They created the royal mess of a tax code. They bail out companies who should be allowed to fail. They have done nothing but increase spending faster than revenue, ensuring those of us busting our backs everyday won't have a retirement as Social Security, Medicare, and other programs run wildly out of control.

    Is that jealously that Mitt is able to donate millions to charity? Are you mad because he didn't just hand you the money? Whatever it is, blame those responsible and do something about it. Nothing will change until that happens.

    September 21, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  23. DarqueSide

    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.

    "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."

    Oops! By his own words Mitt should not be president! Let's see how he spins and flip flops out of this one!

    September 21, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  24. dan

    Me-thinks if i pay more than I owe ... I'm hiding a heck of a lot more tax tricks in past years that I don't want anyone to see or know about. Sorry Mitt I'll never trust you again ... you're just like my kids used to be .. you waffle and squirm to much when you are hiding something.

    September 21, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  25. lastdad

    I suspect that Governor Romney will ammend his 2011 return soon after November 7th to reclaim the full amount he overpaid. Shake the Etch-A-Sketch again!

    September 21, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
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