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. Mike

    14%, wow! I wish I could pay that little in taxes 😦

    September 21, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  2. Tommy Buckeye

    How does his charitable giving percentage compare to that of Obama & Biden?

    September 21, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  3. True Grit

    Leave it to CNN to manipulate a way to criticize Romney for paying too much tax. And, why is this guy so consistently generous through the years? You're right Common Sensus, we don't want somebody like that in the White House. That level of charity might prevent some other individual from becoming dependent on the government. We can't have that!

    Speaking of charity, why do liberals only talk about being generous with other people's money? Can someone tell me how much Biden gave to charity last year? Oh really, just $300? Gore? Liberals claim liberality with their resources while conservatives actually practice it. But let's all remember! The dirty, filthy, greedy rich like Romney don't pay their fair share! Don't forget it.

    September 21, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  4. betterdays

    If you want to change Romney's tax rate, and Obama's, then elect more Democrats to Congress, and then have them make it a priority to force the legislation. Otherwise, I can't blame anyone for not paying more than they owe.

    Besides, we all know that even if the rate is raised on "the 1%," it will have a relatively tiny impact on the (currently nonexistent for the fourth straight year) budget, and will likely just go toward maintaining a "safety net" that so many of the 99% choose to treat more like a hammock. Anyone who believes that continuing on the current path (with the addition of a few billion per year in tax revenue) will result in deficit reduction couldn't pass a first-grade math test.

    September 21, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  5. Kevin

    If Romney is providing his tax return, why isn't Obama releasing his college transcripts?

    September 21, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  6. Debby

    So wait now Cnn and their commentators are bashing Romney because he released his tax returns and ask why now? He said months ago he would release 2011. What is CNN's problem and all the Romney bashing. We realize you get paid by the liberal Time Warner, but your ratings are so bad you would think this station would at least be bias.

    September 21, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  7. simpleguy73

    One only has to do a little research and find out that Ashley Killough is a talking mouthpiece for the liberal agenda. Good job CNN! Way to hire someone that is bias......again.

    September 21, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  8. Scott

    Liberal Muppets
    Go from slamming Romney for not paying enough tax to slamming him for paying too much tax in a matter of hours???

    September 21, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  9. zzzzz

    On a long run who cares, him being (or not) a crook or a patriot, will change in few Republicans minds. There are always excuses.
    If any one can consider voting for Cheney and is still attending and supporting his dauther's and his speeches, after few bilion $s of war profiteering, Romney and family are angles compared to them.
    Romney has just had money lawfully and wants to keep it doing; nothing wrong with that. It maybe "unpatriotic" but GOP is the party of patriots and "judges of patriots", and we can leave it at that. Maybe they'll step-up to the plate for a change and be judgmental of their own "patriots" for a change.
    As they are quick to judge and convict quickly "socialist, non-patirot, rasist, non-christian, etc.." Obama.

    P.S. Cheney gave all his money and stock options to his non-lesbian dauther when he became a VP , and you can see her in talk shows representing "conservative view".

    September 21, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  10. Marie MD

    Keep his word? This guy with no morals, ethics, character or self respect? What word? He still has to release the actual returns. I don't believe a thing his nor his non working wife says. Stop it! Stop it! He didn't want people to make fun of her, she walked right into that one with her expensive shoes.
    Nice, the AARP 47%, mostly seniors, booed the heck out of the lying altar boy today. I guess some seniors finally woke up to realize that repealing Obamacare care is NOT going to do a darn thing for them.
    I have to hand it to the lyan. He stood there in his big suit with a semi grin though.

    September 21, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  11. Glenda

    In another time and a different atmosphere the headline would have read: Romeny gives 30% to charity. We no longer look for good...we want what we get and we wonder why we are so unhappy being happy with only trash. Then again, the media writes these things so the story here is why does the media portray positive events in negative terms. Is this truly bad behavior and the kind we want to rid our culture?

    September 21, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  12. markmac

    So true Ed, if Reagan were president, Libya would already be felling the USA force. Obama will be apoligizing again to them.

    September 21, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  13. macbil

    WOW! Romney adjusted his taxes so it wouldn't look bad. Amazing.


    September 21, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  14. avallstar

    In typical fashion, Libtards are feigning outrage over all of the wrong things. Nice little blog post whipping up the craaaazy left wing base, CNN. Classic. No wonder no one reads this crap any more.

    September 21, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  15. Both Sides Suck

    Like these tax returns were going to influence an 'undecided'? Right.

    Rep's breathe a sign of relief, and dem's use it to further their established feelings. Unless Romney shows up to the debates and pukes on the podium, this might well be an election that comes down to hanging chads in Florida, once again. It's gonna be close.

    September 21, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  16. JohnReedjr

    This stuff is important because it shows that Romney is not sure what truth is, is willing to manipulate facts, and cares more for show that reality. Presidential Timber? I don't think so; more like third rate laminate.

    September 21, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  17. laura

    Larry L get a life please. The only person who destroyed pensions in this race is Obama. You know the 20,000 Adelphi non-union workers who lost their pensions under Obama's takeover while union workers in the same company did not have their pensions touched. The person with no character is Obama!

    September 21, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  18. Joe

    Harry Reid should immediately step down.

    September 21, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  19. z2cents

    Why do i have to pay 30%?

    September 21, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  20. Larry L


    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??
    Absolutely. We are talking about the character of a person considered for POTUS. He flip-flopped on every issue, constantly distorts the truth, and is hiding his tax returns to hide something he considers really critical. I think finding out the cdharacter of Mitt Romney is important!

    Funny you'd select this crisis to use as your example. This is a situation where Romney shot his mouth off while the crisis was developing. Right-wingers are working only to try and somehow blame the President. You folks dearly love any bad news when your campaign is going down in flames.

    September 21, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  21. greg

    @Eric, 20% for the last 20 years? How do you know this? Have you seen something the rest of the nation hasn't seen and has been asking for. I can safely say you have no idea what you are talking about.

    September 21, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  22. Marie MD

    @orlop, unless you are a millionaire, and I very much doubt it, if you are not now you will be part of that 47% at some point in your life. You are also part of the 47% if you are a veteran, if you are now serving in the military, a senior, middle class, the poor, disabled or a retiree on Medicare, Medicaid and collecting Social Security.
    Does that answer your comment about why yes I am PROUD to be part of that 47%? BTW I am still working but I, unlike your twit, pay my taxes every year and I would be more than happy to show them to anyone anywhere. I have nothing to hide.

    September 21, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  23. Jazel

    Ashley - have you paid 4Millions to the government? No, you haven't. Stop complaining instead you should be glad that Romney's pays millions to offset those that don't pay taxes.

    Ashley - have you shared 4Millions a year to help this country? No, you haven't. So, shot up and work hard so you yourself would stop being jealous at other's people success. Go get a job that pays 13M per year so you can have your fair share of paying 4Million like Romney.

    Unless you say you also pay 4Million, then I will respect your BIAS article.

    September 21, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  24. TonyB

    I've read posts here now blasting Romney for paying more than he could have, because by doing so he must be hiding something. The guy can't win. Harry Reid went to the Senate floor to tell the country that Romney has paid no taxes, Romney got criticized from the Democrats for months for not releasing more tax returns, and now we find out he actually paid more than required so he could keep his word, and people are still complaining! Did anyone notice that he gives about 30% of his annual income to charity? Still want to debate whether he cares about the lower and middle class?

    September 21, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  25. C Anderson

    What a rotten crook, I am a poor man and I pay double his tax rate. What a crook.

    September 21, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
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