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. ThinkAgain: If you liked GW Bush's economic, military and foreign policies, vote for Mittens

    What, Mittens lied again? Knock me over with a feather ... *sarcasm*

    September 21, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  2. wobbles

    30 percent of Romney's income to charity. And Obama won't even give you a look unless you spend 40 thousand dollars to be in the same room as him...

    September 21, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  3. Larry L

    I must wonder if all those who plan to vote for Romney have actually considered his character... The people who got bought out by Bain Capital trusted him – only to be tossed in the street without their pension. I saw the photo of the Bain Capital sharks celebrating all of the riches that came from those deals – with Romney in the middle. This tax deal shows his true character. It's great to work and make money – but greed can be an evil motivator.

    September 21, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  4. James

    Quite pathetic to see the fake outrage and posturing from the left. He pays his taxes (much more than any of the contributors here do for sure) and contributed huge amounts to charity also. Why not ask why the multimillionaire Obama only contributes less than 1% to charity or why his wife was promoted and her salary doubled immediately he was elected to the Senate? Uncofmrtable questions maybe?

    September 21, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  5. reginaldb6

    Romney RELEASE YOUR TAXES WHAT ARE YOU HIDING?

    September 21, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    So here is a guy who is arguing that people who make more than $250,000 per year need an extension to the Bush tax cuts, even though he has to specifically instruct his tax preparers to take special steps to ensure he pays more than 13%. It would be interesting to know how much he would have owed if he truly didn't pay a dollar more than he owed. I think many middle class Americans who make less than $100,000 per year would LOVE to owe only 13% in taxes. It seems to me like this just proves how broken the tax code is, and how out of line with reality Romney is.

    September 21, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  7. MCR

    @Ann, you realize that 57% and 58% are roughly the same right? The Romneys therefore contributed 1% more than the Obamas, not 20x. If a person made $40k last year and gave $10k to charity would you be calling then cheap?

    As well without the last 10 years of tax returns how do we know that Romney didn't just start contributing such a large percentage of his income in 2007 when he started seriously looking at the presidency? This is one of the many reasons people want his returns, so they can have answers. If he has nothing to hide and consistently gave such a large percentage then he should release his returns so we can commend him.

    September 21, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  8. PixieDust

    He's only paying more to prevent being pounded by Obama. After he loses in Novemeber, he will re-file his 2011 returns to lower his tax obligation.

    Nice try RobME.

    September 21, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  9. Eric

    Why do all you libs have a problem with this? He isn't required to take a deduction, so who cares if he paid more taxes than he could have. He paid 20% taxes for the last 20 years! MILLIONS OF DOLLARS. His tax rate is around the 15% tax range because our government (thankfully) drives investment in business by reducing the tax rate on capital gains. Investment drives businesses, Big government and regulation doesn't.

    September 21, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  10. Lowell Smith

    No one likes to pay taxes and paying more than you actually owe and getting criticized for it is ridiculous.

    September 21, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  11. Maxx

    Wow, only in Romney world does that make sense.

    September 21, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  12. orlop

    Looks like Marie MD is one of that 47% that Romney is not worrying about

    September 21, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  13. Ed

    Let's see, our Ambassador and three other Americans are murdered in Libya 11 days ago, two of them Seals who were NOT attached to the Ambassadors security detail (no one in the Administration appears to know how many, if any, WERE responsible for his protection, the U.N Ambassador appeared on three network shows last Sunday assuring us that the murders were carried out by a mob incensed by a cheap amateur movie, the President and the Secretary of State (who is the the Ambassador's boss) said that all last week as did Press Secretary Carney as last as THIS Tuesday, and yesterday Carney says that it's "self evident" that, in fact, the attack was planned and executed with NO mob present on 9/11 by Al Qaeda, and still the pressing question of the day is Romney's TAX RETURNS? I have yet to hear ANY reporter ANYWHERE ask why, with advanced warnings regarding unrest on 9/11, this Ambassador was in Libya in the first place in a very vulnerable Consulate (not an Embassy compound). In terms of news, am I the only American who thinks answers to these questions are a damn more important than Romney's TAXES? I really don't care about them anymore than Obama's sealed Columbia University records. An Ambassador is murdered, the Mid East is in turmoil both from irrational populations in roughly THIRTY Muslim nations and Israel and Iran could be killing each other any day and TAX RETURNS are a priority? Really??

    September 21, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  14. Gurgyl

    Just DIVERSZiON of last secret tapes–nothing more, nothing less. Obama12. Period.
    PS: mostly nation made up its mind.

    September 21, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  15. Bev

    For those who wish government to expand I would assume trust in that government. If one trusts the government then I assume this government is satisfied Mr. Romney has met his legal obligation to pay his 'FAIR' share as required by our trusted government. Since there is no government action toward Mr. Romney for NOT paying his fair share in taxes, then what exactly is the fuss? Either trust or distrust government and if you mistrust...why would you vote to expand it?

    September 21, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  16. philw

    If the IRS didn't audit him, then get off his back already.

    September 21, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  17. Time Traveler

    Where's the discussion regarding the fairness of the working person paying income tax rates of 28% and up while those who receive income through investments only pay 15%? It would have been nice to see him discuss the disparity and offer up what his fix would be if elected.

    September 21, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  18. simpleguy73

    Come on Ashley Killough....Let me guess....you paid more in taxes too! Ashley I would guess Romney has paid more taxes in his lifetime than you have and your parents have all together.

    September 21, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    So he made 13+ MILLION and gave away 4 million...and only paid 14.1% on the remaining 9 MILLION. According to IRS tax tables if he had adjusted gross income of only $71,000 he would have been in the 25% tax bracket. How did he reduce his 9 MILLION dollars below say $60,000 to get his taxes so low? Me smells a rat!

    September 21, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  20. Roober

    That is the tax code. I wonder who helped write it? Did we see the trickle down the last 10 years?

    September 21, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  21. jkas

    Did Namelinda actually just accuse Romney of "freeloading"? He gives over $6MM last year to his fellow citizens, and HE is the freeloader!? That really is rich (oh wait, being rich is a bad thing now isn't it?)

    September 21, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  22. iNDEPENDENT

    Another CNN erroreous headline: He di not "break" his word. He meerly said he would be foolish to pay more than what the tax code allows. He gave 30% of his income to charity. How many people do that? He's a good man and the "progressives" continue to try to tear him down.

    September 21, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  23. Bill

    Hmmm...right....let's overlook he gave 30% of his money which could have been kept to others. This is indeed a distrustful person with no heart or compassion to others. I think we should make it against the law for individuals to do such nasty things. Bill and Melinda better watch out for the mobs with pitchforks and flames. LOL

    September 21, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  24. MajeztyRene

    Not the mention the millions he stands to gain from the plant closure in Freeport, IL.

    September 21, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  25. HOLY TIGHTY WHITIES WILLARD

    (PAYING TAXES IS PATRIOTIC) “Gov. Romney calls the president out of touch. Hey, how many of y’all have a Swiss bank account? How many of you have somewhere between $20 and $100 million in your [retirement account]?” – VP Joe Biden

    September 21, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
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