August 16th, 2012
01:18 PM ET
9 years ago

Romney says he paid at least 13% in taxes for last ten years

Greer, South Carolina (CNN) – Mitt Romney has paid no less than 13% in personal income taxes over the past ten years, he said Thursday.

The presumptive GOP nominee has faced withering criticism from Democrats over the release of his tax returns, including a charge by Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid that Romney had paid no taxes for a ten year period. Reid did not specify if those were the last ten years, or an earlier period.

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Romney expressed frustration with Reid's attack at a press conference with reporters in South Carolina.

"I did go back and look at my taxes and over the past ten years I never paid less than 13%. I think the most recent year is 13.6 or something like that. I paid taxes every single year," Romney said, explaining he had gone back to check his records after being asked by a reporter about the tax rates he had paid. "Harry Reid's charge is totally false. I am sure waiting for Harry to put up who it was that told him what he says they told him – I don't believe it for a minute by the way – but every year I paid at least 13% and if you add in addition the amount that goes to charity, why, the number gets well above 20%."

Reid had told reporters an anonymous source gave him a tip. A source close to Reid later said that Reid got the information from an investor with Bain, the private equity firm Romney ran.

A spokesman for Reid, Adam Jentleson, said in a statement Thursday after Romney's press conference, "We'll believe it when we see it. Until Mitt Romney releases his tax returns, Americans will continue to wonder what he's hiding. Romney seems to think he plays by a different set of rules than every other presidential candidate for the last thirty years, all of whom lived up to the standard of transparency set by Mitt Romney's father and released their tax returns."

Romney has released his 2010 tax returns and an estimate of his 2011 tax returns when he filed for an extension, but has declined to make available any earlier returns.

On Thursday he called insistent questions over his tax documents "small-minded compared to the broad issues that we face" such as unemployment and the nuclear threat from Iran.

President Barack Obama's campaign quickly dismissed Romney's tax revelation in a statement.

"Mitt Romney today said that he did indeed 'go back and look' at his tax returns and that he never paid less than 13% in taxes in any year over the past decade. Since there is substantial reason to doubt his claims, we have a simple message for him: prove it," Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith wrote. "Even though he's invested millions in foreign tax havens, offshore shell corporations, and a Swiss bank account, he's still asking the American people to trust him. However, given Mitt Romney's secrecy about his returns, coupled with the revelations in just the one return we have seen to date and the inconsistencies between this one return and his other financial disclosures, he has forfeited the right to have us take him just at his word."

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Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Taxes
soundoff (1,476 Responses)
  1. kit8

    A tax rate of at least 13% is very misleading since he didn't say what his taxable income was. If, his taxable income was $100,000 after all the deductions for the horse etc and not including income from assets hidden abroad in various Swiss accounts etc. Then 13% on $100,000 is $13,000 in income rax and Mitty would be techically correct. Hence, his disclosure of paying at least 13% in income tax though technically correct and proves Reid wrong, if correct, is very misleading. The only solution is for Mitty to release all his tax returns for the last 10 years so voters can better understand his finances including how $100 million ended up in this retirement account on which he would have paid zero taxes even though he was earning significant sums from money stashed away "legally" in those accounts.

    August 16, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  2. Larry

    13% of an unknown number is absolutely meaningless. mittens, what NET INCOME did that 13% come off of? Giving a percentage rather than a hard dollar amount is deceitful.

    August 16, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  3. 3w2q1

    If Romney did use his son's basement as his address to vote in the election to replace Kennedy in Massachusetts, and used one of his mansions as his residence for tax purposes that is voter fraud. It seems like the Republican strategy is to call out others on the unethical behavior they are engaged in to deflect criticism. You remember the game from recess in elementary school "Tag-no-Tag-Backs."

    August 16, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  4. Free Speech Zone

    FLIndependent...uh, have you contributed anything to charity?? Other than your opinions on comment sections like this one?? I didn't think so...but girl scout cookies do count as charity, so you may be good.

    August 16, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  5. Sueb

    Thank you for calling us small-minded, Mr. Romney. We still want to see your tax returns, every day, we are more convinced you are hiding something. I'd like to remind you, sir, that as small-minded as we are, we still get to vote...until your party suppresses the vote to include us too.

    August 16, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  6. FLIndependent

    Beware Union members, Mitt is coming after all of you! Reince Prebus was on Morning Joe and said there is a 5-step plan on how Mittens plans to create jobs – going after the uniions was one of them. We're all being taken for fools by this guy as he will not be creating new jobs here and any that he may create will all be minimum wage (of course they want to do away with minimum wage also).

    August 16, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  7. HEHE

    Romney is of the most pure integrity on this planet this must obviously be true.

    August 16, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  8. John

    13% is an insult..I paid 20 on a little over 100k...keep it up so the Pres can win a second

    August 16, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  9. VistaPoint

    13% of what and what all does it include/

    August 16, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  10. Roger

    Mittens "Pure Heart" Romney.

    August 16, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  11. Mittens Rmoney

    And under Paul Ryan's budget plan I would pay less than 1%! Woo hoo!! Things can only get better if you're super rich and I'm elected.

    August 16, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  12. Reever

    We will not take your word for it. The only reason not to release them is that he is HIDING SOMETHING! Tax amnesty is my guess.

    August 16, 2012 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  13. Delilah

    Just prove it Willard – so simple!

    August 16, 2012 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  14. rs

    Obama – Ending the American Dream as We Know It-

    Your rationale that Mr. Romney somehow deserves a lower tax rate than mine simply because "he risks his money" in investments really didn't do anything but make him seem like an even greater creep.

    August 16, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  15. Tony

    Romney is hiding his tax returns because he does not want the public to know how little he has been paying in taxes over the years, even before he gets the chance to give himself another 20% tax cut.

    August 16, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  16. VistaPoint

    and what about the offshore accounts with undisclosed wealth and tax avoidance strategies?

    August 16, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  17. FLIndependent

    @tykl-"If any on the Left want to be brave, why don't you post the tax rate Obama paid last year. He is a member of the 1%. So why don't you post the tax rate of the 1% bracket he is in, then post the tax rate he paid and then subtract the two and see how much he got out of paying for 'deductions' or other loopholes. Then take your self-imploding, self-righteous, hypocrisy and figure out how your going to spin the same 'lower taxes paid' story about Obama. I'm sure none of you are brave enough."
    First off, President Obama hasn't been rich all of his life and was honorable enough to release many years of returns. Also, the President is the one saying all the time that HE should be paying more in taxes as he knows the tax code is not fair...when do you ever hear Mittens utter such a thing about himself.

    August 16, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  18. coloradom

    So what's wrong with hiding money overseas if the U.S. government allows it? The Obama administration and the Democratic House and Senate should have taken care of this when he was first elected. They have no one to blame but themselves for the fight over taxes now.

    August 16, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  19. LiberalIowan

    Show us your returns mittwit. What are you hiding? Although, after your ryan pick, it probably doesn't matter anyway. You will never be elected.

    August 16, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  20. snowboarder


    obviously those who have the money make the tax rules.

    my wife and i made about $221k gross last year and even with every deduction we could muster, we still paid about 19%.

    i see no reason why a someone who makes 1000 more than i do should pay a smaller percentage in taxes.

    August 16, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  21. Obama - Ending the American Dream as We Know It

    Jonathan – i didn't pay taxes for 14 years! Of course, it was the first 14 years of my life.
    But that didn't mean the government wasn't busy borrowing money that YOU were going to be responsible for paying. They were taking out a paycheck loan on your futue paycheck even though you weren't allowed to vote. The ultimate taxation without representation.

    August 16, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  22. Are You Mental?

    @RealityBites: The only people who care about Romney's taxes are those that can't find anything positive to show about Obama legacy.., like CNN.

    Have you factored in the fact that Romney is the one that has brought this tax issue back up? His wife is on television today speaking about their taxes, and Romney himself is making statements to the same effect. Clearly this is something that Romney wants to bring up in a coordinated effort. So I ask you: Why hammer on CNN for doing exactly what the candidate wanted?

    August 16, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  23. BDJ

    His statement is meaningless. How much mony did he shelter from taxes. He doesn't say he paid 13% on 20 million. He may have paid 13% on the 1 million he could not hide, while the remaining 19 set off shore.

    August 16, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  24. The REAL Truth...

    To Ready – Obama promised he knew how to fix this economy, and promised to go through budgets line by line and etc,
    He did, and has.
    We had evaporation of $1/2 trillion surplus, -8.9% GDP, $11 TRILLION national debt, $1.47 TRILLION deficit, $2.8 TRILLION in tax cuts (unpaid for), TWO Wars (unpaid for), Medicare prescription plan (unpaid for), $3 TRILLION borrowed from China, BILLION dollar no-bid contracts award to the military-industrial complex, a Wall Street, Banking, Auto, Mortgage crisis, losing over 700,000 jobs monthly and a economy heading into Depression when Obama took office.

    The Stimulus worked to stem the tide and budgets have been gone thru line by line. However, Congress produces the final budget, not the POTUS. The challenge with making progress over the last few years has been the Repugs and their "make Obama a single term President" objective. They have put politics and party ahead of the good of this great nation, and have blocked, filibustered and obstructed every piece of legislation – by adding Defense spending increases and anti-abortion rider to every bill – then playing the blame game when the Dems fails to pass the legislation.
    Obama's policies have been about dragging us out of the fiscal quagmire and economic Depression that was happening on Dubya's exit. That takes time to fix.. even longer when the other divisive side (GOBP) is playing against you and have a large brainwashed support base.

    August 16, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  25. kramer

    Mittens – Show Me the Money..!!!

    August 16, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
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