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. Jess

    "At leat" and "no less" are to very different things...what is it?

    August 16, 2012 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  2. LMD

    Romney's income tax of 13.9 % of taxable income or $3,000,000 was determined by the Internal Revenue Code enacted by Congress and administered by the IRS. We should all focus on what the candidates are saying about federal policies and not what % paid of taxable income which is determined by the Internal Revenue Code enacted by Congress and administered by the IRS.

    August 16, 2012 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  3. Jess

    "At least" and "no less" are two different things...what is it?

    August 16, 2012 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  4. jesse james. take them to street and shoot them like the dogs they are

    Romney you are an outright lier . Release the tax returns.

    August 16, 2012 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  5. craig

    Rmoney looked at Ryan's tax returns. Why? Obviously to find out if there was anything "bad" in them, and to assure himself that Ryan was qualified to run. Why should the standard for Rmoney be any different? We want to know if he's qualified to run too. Given his history with the truth, I'll believe what he says when he backs it up with the data. Until then...nope. Not happening.

    August 16, 2012 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  6. trex

    ....................................72% of AMERICANS want to see Romney's 12 years of tax returns.....................................

    August 16, 2012 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  7. belinda

    Romney can say whatever he wants. Whether it's the truth we will never know. He could pay that percentage and still get a ridiculous tax return.We need to see those Returns. If Romney is feeling the Hate, I can assure him that it's coming from Millions of People who are disgusted with his Greedy, self serving Policies and his always convenient lies. We don't believe anything you say. We don't like you. You are a Deceitful man, that everyone agrees would cause even greater harm than the previous Republican President.Romney and Ryan. The Two biggest Clowns of this Century.

    August 16, 2012 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  8. cleareye1

    Romney is a no show until his actual returns are available to the press. He cannot expect anyone to take his word for it. Once he makes them available it will be time to look into whether Reid should resign.

    August 16, 2012 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  9. cleareye1

    Romney's claim is so evasive, he could mean 13% taxes paid includes all sales taxes, income taxes, property taxes, etc. America wants to see what he paid in Federal income taxes, just like the rest of us. We want to compare.

    August 16, 2012 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  10. Pepou

    This is OUTRAGEOUS. That clown is laughing all the way to the bank.

    August 16, 2012 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  11. Kona

    Mitt, just release your tax returns and then we can put this whole thing behind us. Many of your friends and allies on the right want you to do this, too, not just your opponents. Follow your father's example!

    August 16, 2012 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  12. RUKiddingMe

    Really? I pay 25% in taxes. I'm not a millionaire. What is wrong with this picture if the LOWER your income, the MORE you pay in taxes, while you work, and live, and provide children who will fight and die to protect the country of Mr. Rich 13% Tax Payer? This isn't a small issue. It speaks to the policies this man champions, and tells my that my individual vote is best exercised on someone ELSE.

    August 16, 2012 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  13. Larry L


    Wow, the Democrats in office sure do know how to waste time on small issues. Does anybody want to lend some extra time to fixing unemployment or maybe paying down the debt? Anybody?... Anybody?
    President Obama proposes a tax increase on his own tax bracket. Romnry opposes this revenue that would reduce the deficit. Ryan's hand is up because he thought you said "who wants to increase the tax burden for the middle-class while giving the rich no taxes on capital gain?".

    August 16, 2012 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  14. Jorge Pinares

    Romney should release his tax returns the day Mr. Obama releases his sealed college records from Columbia University. I think that is where the surprise is.

    August 16, 2012 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |

    George Romney resisted releasing a single year of taxes, arguing that
    it wouldn't present an accurate picture...but then he made a surprising
    offer: He would release the past 12 years of tax returns...That way, it
    wouldn't look like a stunt

    August 16, 2012 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  16. Josh Wight

    PROVE IT! Period.....

    August 16, 2012 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  17. Lennoxvale

    I paid at least "less" tax than the average voter!!!!

    August 16, 2012 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  18. Alan Johnson

    He paid 13 percent? Okay, so release the tax returns that prove that and the issue goes away. Reid is proven to be a fool. Unfortunately it is Romney himself, and not the Democrats who are keeping this issue in the news. Release the tax returns. If they show 13 percent paid, then the issue disappears. Ryan could release more than two years. But he's been instructed not to upstage the boss by being more forthcoming. Release the tax returns Mitt. Say it ain't so!

    August 16, 2012 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  19. Dan

    Wow Adam, that's the same thing rational folks were/are saying about the birthers!

    August 16, 2012 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  20. james - St. Paul, MN

    To quote everybody's favorite Republican:

    Trust, but verify!

    August 16, 2012 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  21. Seriously

    Prove it, Mittens.

    August 16, 2012 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  22. John

    Dear Mitt,
    Congratulations. Your taxes and charitable donations combined to make 20% of your income. My taxes are 28% of my income.
    Middle class america

    August 16, 2012 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  23. RE McReay

    Dude ... I want the name and number of your CPA ... He needs to redo my taxes.

    August 16, 2012 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    to ADAM- pot calling the kettle black

    August 16, 2012 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  25. Jon

    But yeah, just take your word for it, eh?
    Like how Romney also lied about his residency in Massachusetts.

    August 16, 2012 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
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