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. RIALgal

    Charitable contributions are NOT taxes. I give a goodly chunk of my income to charity too and it would never occur to me to lump it with my taxes.

    August 16, 2012 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  2. David you know what it felt like dealing with time-wasting issues like Obama's birth certificate...

    August 16, 2012 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  3. Greenspam

    Yes, Rmoney paid 13% on the remaining income he reported after he hid away the rest of his income.

    August 16, 2012 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  4. blow hard

    how is it that he can say this, and yet still use the words "I think.?"

    August 16, 2012 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  5. Tantarus

    I love it, the birther argument used against the republicans and all they can do is cry about it.

    August 16, 2012 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  6. Jason Glugla

    To Adam: You know what a good way that we could pay down the debt is? If guys like Romney paid as high a percentage in taxes as the rest of us little people and if guys like Romney weren't allowed to hide their cash in off-shore accounts. I guess Romney feels that it is only right that he keeps his money overseas since he made most of his money by shipping jobs there.

    August 16, 2012 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  7. Jacob

    hmmm, I paid 25% in taxes last year and the IRS still send me a bill for $4500 ... my annual income is less than $65000, how can he pay so much less than me?

    August 16, 2012 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  8. izandro

    so, 1.3% every year for ten years?

    August 16, 2012 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  9. @adam

    Come on, as a fellow repub, don't even start to say one side is better than the other for slinging worthless dirt. People like you are the reason this nation is divided. We are all at fault and need to all join together as much as we can to get things back in shape for the US.

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

    Yeah, Adam, now you know how we feel about the whole birth certificate thing. Democrats have been working their butts off trying to fix unemployment and they are blocked at every turn by Congress, specifically the filibustering REpublicans. If you don't like it, write to your Republican congresspeople and tell them to get off their butts and do some real work!

    August 16, 2012 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    Wow how about a American not some Dumocrat, Teabagger, or RepubliKKKan. If you belong to some party your's not a true American. True Americans have no lables just wannabes

    August 16, 2012 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  12. @Adam

    Each spending bill must originate in the House, which I will remind you is controlled by the Republicans.

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

    Mitt Romney could put this whole matter to rest by releasing his tax forms for the past decade just as every Presidential candidate for the last thirty years has done. Instead of following the example of his own father Romney chooses to hide the facts from us and then claim that he paid his fair share of taxes.

    To his supporters this is a non-issue, but to millions of taxpaying American citizens it goes straight to the heart of his honesty, integrity and citizenship, and it is an important issue for one who would be the President of the United States. If Romney chooses to keep his tax returns secret, then that is his right and his choice to make, but it is also the right and the choice of American voters to hold him accountable if he fails to be honest and forthright with us.

    August 16, 2012 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  14. Joe Money

    I'd give my left arm to pay 20%, both arms for 13%

    August 16, 2012 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  15. southernwonder

    hey, romney, mr. flipflop, show us the tax returns. does anybody really believe a dodgy republican politician?

    August 16, 2012 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  16. Carl, Secaucus, NJ

    As has been said, if Romney was looking to acquire a business, he wouldn't accept seeing only two years of its financial data.

    August 16, 2012 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  17. Michael

    The longer he holds out the more I am convinced his hiding his taxes has less to do with what the Democrats might find and try to use against him and more to do with being afraid the Republicans might find something to use against him before the convention. Like maybe proof that he hired illegal immigrants or paid off a mistress or something like that.

    August 16, 2012 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  18. bigdoglv

    The only reason the left wants the tax returns is for ammo in their war on the successful. You can bet the IRS has hit these returns with a fine tooth comb. I will also bet they came up empty. Like Romney does his own taxes. Get real.

    August 16, 2012 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  19. ObamaUnitl2016

    13% on hundreds of millions... Hmm.... Meanwhile someone making $80k per year pays 24%..

    Thanks, Mitt. We used to think paying taxes our patriotic duty to pay for our military and infrastructure. You have thumbed your nose at America doing this.

    August 16, 2012 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  20. Frankg

    I paid almost 33% on average over the last 8 years and yet the Dems say I'm not paying my fair share and I need to pay even more. This is why as much as I hate Republicans, I will vote for them to stop the Dem's from screwing me over while pretending to stick it to the Mitts of the world. I could care less what he paid in taxes and hopefully one day when I sell my business, I too can pay those low rates.

    August 16, 2012 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  21. Jerry

    Odd because if the majority of his income is coming from investment holdings, one would think that in 2008 he paid zero taxes after the market crashed as he sold his losses at year end and used them to shelter any remaining taxable income. Otherwise, he is the best portfolio manager in the world or was shorting the US housing market and US indices to make a bundle at my expense. Seems un-American and not in line with our core values to bet against America and profit from it. I think he needs to just release his returns to end the doubts.

    August 16, 2012 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  22. Daniel

    So... you paid about 1/3 of what your tax bracket should have been. Yes, that's much better than zero. Still highlights the unfair nature of our tax code in the most brutal way, but yes it's not 'zero'.

    August 16, 2012 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  23. Walter

    Funny how this is such a big story for CNN while Barry making millions of illegals legal barely warrants any mention. Gotta keep propping up Barry. Pathetic.

    August 16, 2012 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  24. Terry Moore

    13%....I make 1/20th of what he does, and I pay much doe social justice in America..

    August 16, 2012 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  25. Truthiness

    Rachel Streitfeld was a paid staff assistant for debbie wasserman schultz. Check congressional records. No wonder they keep harping on Romney's taxes.

    August 16, 2012 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
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