Romney tax return: Why release now?
September 21st, 2012
03:39 PM ET
2 years ago

Romney tax return: Why release now?

(CNN) – At first glance, Mitt Romney's decision to release his tax return on a Friday afternoon seemed to be a way to bury a story that has dogged the Republican presidential candidate for much of this year.

But was this a case of the "Friday news dump" that's become commonplace in the nation's capital?

Maybe, but maybe not.

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While it's true, a story released on a Friday afternoon or early evening tends to get less attention thanks to the approaching weekend, in this case the attention may be welcomed.

It's already been a rough week for the Romney campaign, thanks to those "47%" secretly recorded videos of Romney at a fundraiser when he cast supporters of President Barack Obama as dependent on government. The release of those clips on Monday has dominated coverage of the race for White House the entire week.

The Romney campaign's release of the long awaited 2011 tax returns may be an attempt to change the conversation.

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

The campaign calendar may also be forcing Romney's hand. Releasing the tax returns next week would take away from what the Romney campaign hopes is a ramping up on the campaign trail, centered around a three-day swing through the battleground state of Ohio. And the next week the debates begin. Releasing tax returns just prior to or during the three presidential and one vice presidential debate would only accentuate the tax return story.

The Romney campaign says there was no strategy involved in the release. Romney spokesman Kevin Madden said the returns were released "because they were ready."

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Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Taxes
soundoff (134 Responses)
  1. Tom

    I think that is the correct analysis. At this point Romney would gladly take a little heat over his taxes if it changes the subject away from the 47% gaffe. The Friday news dump is just a ploy to try and make the press believe there is more bad news in his tax release. Let's face it, the reaction to Romney releasing some tax information will be predictable - those on the right will declare Romney released all the information people wanted. The left will claim that beyond 2011 - a tax returned prepared specifically to be scrutinized - Romney still hasn't released actual tax returns. Romney will still get dinged about his wealth and taxes for the rest of this campaign. The big question is whether the press will chase this story and forget about the 47% gaffe (and the Libya gaffe)? I doubt it - 47% and Libya are much more juicy stories than Mitt's taxes.

    September 21, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  2. Jeckers

    Raising the capital gains tax impacts the elderly – many of them live off of this as a form of retirement.

    September 21, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  3. Brandon

    "Mitt pays a huge chunk of money to charity and more in taxes than most of us will pay in our lifetimes, yet never satisfied. Cute little names "Robme", when the reality is the government is robbing America. Mitt didn't create this system, the clowns of previous administrations did, including policy changes passed during Clinton's time that resulted in the housing bubble in the first place.

    So, do we learn from mistakes or do we continue to let the government ruin our lives?"

    I love how romney's backers focus on the dollar amount, rather than the percentage. He pays more than you will in your entire lifetime! Well, that's because he makes more than we will in our entire lifetime. That's simply 6th grade math. And let's get another thing straight. His charitable donations have NOTHING to do with his taxation. The fact that he makes more does not eliminate the responsibility to pay his FAIR SHARE. In fact, it makes it more important. Losing 10% of his taxes paid is a much bigger deal than losing 10% of any of our "commoner's" taxes paid.....right?

    Everyone wants to act like this isn't a big deal, but it is. I bet you Mitt would agree....the first stop in righting a sinking business is to take inventory of their REVENUE, define where missed revenues are and fix it. Without doing that, it doesn't really matter how messed up the expenditures are. What's going IN is just as important as what's going OUT. If not more so.

    when I balance my home budget, I determine the income that must be divided out to the expenditures....not the other way around. Apparently that's not the Republican Way......

    September 21, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  4. ohreally

    Where are the rest of his returns? As we can see. Mitt manipulated the 2011 returns by not using all of his charity deduction, so he could say he never payed less then 13%. Does anyone actually believe he did this sort of thing, before he was running? It's obvious he took amnesty on his money over seas and it would sink him if it came out. But the 28th is around the corner and his returns may get released anyway.

    September 21, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  5. RSVP

    He's a crook, plain and simple.

    What I'm really concerned about are hanging chads and Obama ballots vaporizing on election day.

    September 21, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  6. Jojola

    I thought he had released his 2011 taxes? So, you mean to tell me Mitt is just now releasing all of 2011? Why did it take so long for his taxes to be completed? It's almost time for 2012 and we are supposed to be content with this releasing? Okay, what about previous years? You know, the years he paid little or no taxes at all? The previous years should be completed by now so show us those. This man is hiding something he doesn't want us to see and that is why he's doling out his 2011 taxes little by little so we won't ask for the years 2000 through 2010. Just another bait and switch game played by republicans but I'm not buying it.

    September 21, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  7. Nodack

    He said he wouldn't release them, but his ship is sinking and he is desperate. 14%, ya he needs more tax breaks. Maybe even a second dancing horse to deduct $70,000 a year for while complaining that those that only make $20,000 a year aren't paying their fair share.

    September 21, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  8. DLEE

    I want to see 2009's. That was the year he inflated his company stock on Wall Street, then bankrupted it wiping out most investors. Martha Stewart was jailed for insider trading, and there's no way Mitt didn't do the same thing.

    September 21, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  9. namvet

    Romney paid more than required for strictly political reasons. He will ask for an adjustment as soon as the campaign is over. His tax rate then will be 9%.
    Romney once again proves he will say and do anything to win. Sorry Mitt you are and will continue to be a loser.
    This Veteran will be voting for President Obama.

    September 21, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  10. Bob

    Why release them now? You democrats have been crying for them and now they are released you complain more. What, upset he actually paid taxes and now you only have 20 seconds of video to use to bash Romney?

    September 21, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  11. Mike in SA

    I also have to question the timing considering those tax returns also show him donating 28.5% to charity meaning of Romney's income, he gave a whopping 42.4% to public good. Let's see if Obama matched that! Oh he didn't? Why am I not shocked and why am I not shocked that the liberal media is not reporting that fact.

    September 21, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  12. Jeckers

    Does anyone here have any concept of the filing deadlines? If you have a basic 1040 return – there is a good chance that you'll be filing by 4/15. But if you have any complexity to your return, such as K-1's or need information from other sources – such as trusts, etc.... you won't have all of that information by 4/15. Most likely – you'll have it by 9/15, which is the corporate / partnership filing deadline. So – for himi to release this today is not unusual by any means.

    While we are at it – in order for Romney to have a 14.1% tax rate – he would be itemizing on his return, which means he's paying out money for state/local/real estate taxes, charitable contributions, etc... Listen – he didn't have to donate $4m to charity, he could have kept the whole thing and just paid the differential in tax. When you take all of those things into account – he's paid out a much higher percentage of his income – probably closer to 45 – 46%.

    September 21, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  13. "Puzzled"

    Mitt Romney paid $1.95 million in federal taxes and donated $4.5 millon to charities last year, the federal government debt is $16 TRILLION and growing and so many cry Romney is the problem. Where has our country gone?

    September 21, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  14. michiganandy

    Why won't he release tax returns prior to 2010? Easy, IRS starting cracking down on offshore tax dodge shelters 2009/2010, Romney doesn't want the offshore accounts to be an issue, so make noise with returns that were done properly in terms of what was claimed and taxes paid on offshore holdings. For a sample of what Romney would possibly face if he didn't square up with the IRS on improper claiming of offshore assets prior to when the IRS started cracking down in 2009 (i.e. pay back taxes and fines), use keywords "IRS legal actions against Helio Castroneves." Helio didn't square up when the IRS started clamping down, so the IRS is going after him, for the 2nd time, regarding improper claiming of offshore holdings. Enjoy IndyCar and Dancing with the Stars Helio, IRS needs to make an example of someone, and you're it, although wouldn't it be so lovely if the IRS filed charges against Mitt right now?

    September 21, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  15. beevee

    Percentage wise Romney paid a lot less than amny middle classs folks in taxes. He probably used all the possible tax loopholes to avoid paying more. How about taxes paid the years before 2010. Do the voters just have to rely on what his financial brokers state and believe them as facts?

    September 21, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  16. Robert

    What people seem to forget is that he also contributes a full 10% to his church which seentially gives him a rate of 24%.

    September 21, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  17. Michael

    The Romney campaign says there was no strategy involved in the release. Romney spokesman Kevin Madden said the returns were released "because they were ready."

    Riiiiiiight. Yet another lie.

    September 21, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  18. Samantha

    How classis "he paid more than you will make your lifetime." well sirs and ladies that keep repeating this...i would hope so...he has millions! and so because someone pays for in taxes then i do it makes them better than me? i didnt know that was how America worked....i thought all men were created equal and we are all God's children? Or does religion only apply to marriage and abortion? i thought you werent supposed to judge others because you and i will be jugded in the end...but its ok for you guys to judge others and say they are worse then Mitt Romney because of money? oh classy of you republicans. Someone the other day reminded me of a very good passage from Luke about if you have two shirts, give one to someone who doesnt. but i guess that doesnt apply to republicans in real life situations today. please get off your high horses and come back to reality.

    September 21, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  19. Bill Mitchell

    Face it lefties, Mitt just totally pwned you.

    BTW dont believe your own ridiculously oversampled polls showing Obama ahead. Look at Rasmussen and Gallup who have this thing a dead tie.

    Romney is winning.

    September 21, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  20. Jeckers

    To Brandon – charitable contributions have everything to do with taxation. The government gives a deduction for this (if you can itemize) in order to give an incentive to the American public to donate – because that is where funding should be coming from.

    So – let's put some numbers to this – ***the rates are only estimate***

    Let's say that you make $500,000 after everything and have a tax rate of 20%. You would pay $100,000 in taxes.

    So – assume that you pay $100,000 in charitable contributions. That lowers your adjusted gross income to $400,000 and that lowers your tax rate to 15%. You now would be paying 15% taxes on $400,000, or $60,000 – a $40,000 reduction in taxes due.

    Sounds good – but remember, you had to pay out $100,000 charitable contribution in order to get a $40,000 reduction. So – how much did you really pay? $160,000 on $500,000 of income or 32%.....Effectively a take-home of $340,000. You could have just paid the $100K in taxes and stuck with the take home of $400,0000.

    September 21, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  21. Mickey

    Romney has said for months when his 2011 return was complete he would release it. It's not unusual for wealthy people to get an extension for complicated returns. Sounds right to me. Lawful income tax rate at 14% and charitable contributions of 30%. That's the way it should be. You pay your taxes legally and if able and willing you give to organizations with the expertise to help people in need. The government is unable to help people by it's bungling inefficiency.

    September 21, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  22. michiganandy

    What gets me, and I am sure just about any super rich person is hoping the media turns a blind eye to this, 2009 is when the IRS started clamping down on these tax dodge shelters, and it is just too much of a coincidence that Romney won't release anything prior to 2010. He would have had to report any back taxes and fines he would have had to pay on these shady offshore holdings that a lot of very wealthy American's pushed the legal boundaries as far as not claiming nor paying taxes on. So keep bringing up the issue MItt, the odds that finally some reporter asks you the right question, like what about returns from 2009 and before. Wake up America, Mitt is the typical take-the-money-and-run scammers that are ruining this country.

    September 21, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  23. Tom

    Mitt Romney is a failed candidate.

    September 21, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    "When you take all of those things into account – he's paid out a much higher percentage of his income – probably closer to 45 – 46%."

    HAHAHAHAHAAHAHAH! No. Just...no. ARITHMETIC FAIL.

    September 21, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  25. Deserttrek

    more unhinged leftist rants................can't defend the worst most inept person of all time obama, but can scream about Romneys taxes.

    the schools have failed us

    September 21, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
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