August 16th, 2012
01:18 PM ET
8 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. Ex-GOP Con

    What did he pay during the recession when he should have been reinvesting that money into the American people to grow the economy?

    August 16, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |

    I don't think that people get the face that this is the 2nd time the same money is being taxed. If you take your takehome pay and invest it you will also pay a lower tax. He is not doing anything illegal. What we should be seeing outrage over is the fact that Eric Holder will not be prosecuting John Corzine or anyone at MF Global. A billion dollars was stollen and because he is a Democratic friend of Holder's, Obama and Co. are looking the other way. And what about those non-union workers who had their pensions taken while their union co-workers got to keep theirs? Where is the outrage over the real crimes? It is truely a disgrace!!

    August 16, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  3. Jeettu

    Rather than making statements as to what percentage taxes he paid, why does he not let us see his tax returns? That way we can find out the base from which he is calculating the 13%. We also want to know what he considers income and what he does not. Also, how many of the foriegn accounts are included in these tax returns and what type of deductions are taken.

    Given that he paid only 13% on millions, he wants to reduce these further at the cost of increasing the tax burden of middle and poor class people. Is that fair? His proposals would also reduce medicare and medicad benefits and reduce social security payments. He will also make sure that 40+ million people without healthcare insurance cannot get one. Because of all these, he does not deserve to be POTUS and hence should not get our vote in November. Vote democratic all the way to stop madness in USA and move us forward to accomplish things soon.

    August 16, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  4. samuel


    it was like the Civil War. Rednecks fghting who did not have slaves ! And who supported slavery and did not understand that slaves were cutting jobs from them. But they still hated blacks and went to war for rich owners.

    Like now...people that dont have HCare are against it and dont know why ! But when they get sick we have t pay for make a good point !

    August 16, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  5. Tony

    Romney knows that if he releases his tax returns, and people get to know how little in taxes people like him have been paying, no one will buy his plan to give the rich more tax cuts.

    August 16, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  6. T J

    Giving 10% or more of your income to your own Church because you are supposed to does not count as Charity in my books.

    August 16, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    "Trust me," he says. I think he's going to weasel out of releasing his second year. Ann Romney has made it quite clear that no more returns are going to be released, so that would include the estimated year.

    August 16, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  8. Seth Sharon

    This should shut up most of the liberals (who btw probably PAY NO INCOME TAXES)

    August 16, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  9. Solus5

    I love it.. Obama hides his college papers, has hundreds of discrepencies about his life in the books he wrote about himself, and has broken promise after promise, HIRES a KNOWN TAX EVADER

    August 16, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  10. 1zb1

    Trust me, I live in Massachusetts. Oh, I forgot, I filed my taxes in Utah but don’t worry, after I amend three years of my back tax returns it will show I live in Massachusetts, but I send my money to Switzerland and the Cayman Islands. And how is it small minded that people want to know about his taxes but its not small minded for him to release them. Why did he give his tax returns to McCain when he wanted the job of Vice President but he refuses to give them to the American People when he wants to be President? I don't know who I find more offensive, Romny or Ryan.

    August 16, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  11. dina

    This election is not about what is right for the people.It is about racism and stupid uneducated people who think they are smarter than this Harvard educated president just because they are white. Disgusting.They will vote for the likes of the Republicans no matter how it affects their lives just to not have a black president. That is really sick. These people need to be educated if that is possible.

    August 16, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  12. asm_ith

    souptwins says "If you want to push the tax rates for investment income to a level equal to earned income, what are you going to do to encourage investment? Our economy requires rich people willing to take risks through investments. How will you get them to take those risks if there's no longer a tax incentive?"

    Do you actually believe that Romney or others wouldn't invest their money if they had to pay 25% or 35% on their gains or dividends instead of 15%? Do you think they would keep it in the bank or under their mattress? Also, how many fewer jobs would Romney have created if after taxes he only netted $14 million (paying 35% on his $21 million) instead of $18 million (paying 15%) in 2010?

    August 16, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  13. sky

    I think that if mitt doesn't have anything to hide then Mitt would release his taxes. I watched the interview with Mitts wife and she would not say the word she paid incometaxes, she is vary careful not to say she paid any INCOMETAXES for the last ten years. I pay taxes at the store, gas pump and when i pay for cigarettes, so ask her if they paid 0% INCOMETAXES for the last ten years. INDEPENDENT self- reliance

    August 16, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  14. Solus5

    My comments are awaiting approval.. I guess the moderator can only stand so much honesty about BO's college transcripts and papers, lies about his own life in his own books, hiring a KNOWN tax evader as Fed Chairman, and breaking promise after promise, racking up 16Trillion in new debt, getting Obamacare passed as a jobs bill, etc..

    All they have is "Romneys a felon" or "Romney hasn't paid taxes" who told you? "I can't say, but prove it"...

    YOU KNOW WHAT... I think Obama's college papers show that he's a facist socialist... You don't think so... WELL PROVE IT... SHOW US THE PAPERS...

    August 16, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    He's either saving his returns as an attempt at "gotcha" moment for his October suprise...which is really a pretty pitiful October suprise....or he's really actually crapping his magic undies. That's the only way to figure it. Accused of something that he is clearly concerned damages his campaign and his reputation, and possessed off the proof to the (alleegd) contrary, one would think he'd be shoving the tax returns down our everloving throats...but he's not. Waiting until October to pop them out and say "see, told you so!!!" would mean he maximized the time period during which the incorrect perception was spread and the damage was done to his campaign, so it seems unlikely that he's going to get much out of that kind of tactic. That leaves the poopypants option....

    August 16, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  16. LMB

    souptwins – You nailed it right on the head! Who among us pays more taxes than we have to? Why blame Romney for doing what EVERY smart person does? Let anyone "without sin" (who willingly pays more taxes than they have to) cast the fist stone. What a bunch of hypocrites.

    August 16, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  17. Ready

    It's funny how the Obama supporters have no idea how taxes and tax laws work. I guess that's why they vote democrat.

    August 16, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  18. sky

    Make sure you have a voter I.D. in your state or you will not be able to vote. Independent

    August 16, 2012 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  19. RobK

    Who set up the tax laws and the thousands of loopholes? Congress, that's who, with sign-off by the President. Do you all really think that Mitt should be donating money to the government? That's not how we do it in America. We pore over the tax code and try to find all our deductions. Do you write checks to Walmart? Or do you search for deals and sales, so that you pay the lowest price? If you want someone to close all the loop holes, Mitt has the best chance, since he knows where they all are.

    August 16, 2012 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  20. Fred

    The headline on fox "news" :

    "Romney Answers Tax Question"

    That satisfies all Koch-suckers, jellies, fundies, and rednecks, although they were already satisfied.

    August 16, 2012 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  21. Observer91

    I don't know Romney. Why should I take your word for it? The only real way I can believe you is if you prove it, and since you are milking this issue and refusing to release your tax returns for the past 10-12 years I will just have to not believe you. I don't necessarily think you have broken any laws (maybe tested a few), but I am sure that you are using rediculous tax loopholes to your advantage. These loopholes that make the rich richer and the poor poorer are really getting on my nerves. If you were to promise to get rid of all of these then maybe I'd listen to you more. Maybe.

    August 16, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  22. Will

    At least 13 per cent, but not more than 15 per cent.

    August 16, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  23. Michael A. Colletti

    I believe you Gov. Romney. Excuse me please, after saying that I have to upchuck.

    August 16, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  24. CalDude

    wake me up if he broke any tax law.

    August 16, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  25. beevee

    If Romney has paid taxes properly on his income then why is he stalling on showing his tax returns. By the way paying a donation to charities is not same as paying taxes to the IRS. IRS gives the tax payer a break on charitable contributions. I think this guy is afraud and is trying to confuse the voters with his mumblings about his tax filings. Surprising I paid higher taxes on my meagre income than this millioneer. What is the trick?

    August 16, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
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