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. N Vinny Veritas

    Don't believe you... Prove it.

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

    Wow...a whole 13%. Mitt, a tear has come to my eye on this horrible tax burden you and your wife have had to endure over the past 10 years. My personal tax burden is nearly 50% factoring in NYC, NY State and Federal taxes...but then again, I am not a multi-millionaire, so I must deserve it.

    August 16, 2012 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  3. Lou

    13% is the problem. Even if he did pay that much, it would be less than half what I pay on a whole lot less income. The entire system is rigged for the rich – and Romney is the rigger in chief.

    August 16, 2012 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  4. James

    If its such a small issue as he says, then why does he resist disclosure of his taxes?

    August 16, 2012 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  5. Rob

    I think small minded was defined by the birther movement.

    August 16, 2012 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  6. Melo-D

    Willard says a lot of stuff. I'm sure if the truth were ever to come out he could do his best manuver, the flip flop.

    August 16, 2012 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  7. John

    "I paid 13% taxes last 10 years" and "I paid at least 13% taxes last 10 years" are two very different statements, CNN.

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

    where is IRS on this issue, is it their problem, and why did not a federal prosecutor look into this!!

    August 16, 2012 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  9. FredKelly

    I'd be suspect of anyone with Romney's business pedigree that paid more in personal taxes.

    August 16, 2012 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  10. Jewels

    Ugh - this man is so phony. I wouldn't doubt it if he twisted it somehow to total 13% over the span of 10 years....walks like a duck alright.

    August 16, 2012 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  11. SL

    i make 37K and pay 16% last year????

    August 16, 2012 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  12. Rob

    wow, 13%. What planet is he from. What do you think middle class people pay in income taxes, in addition to interest for all the money they have to borrow to survive?

    August 16, 2012 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  13. Anon

    Yes, just like Republicans wasting time about Obama's birth certificate

    August 16, 2012 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  14. Joe

    13% is legal for him. Not because he's rich, but because that's the law. If he only made 200k a year through investments, that 200k would still only be that low tax rate. If he also worked a solid regular job, that job would be taxed at the 25\35% tax rate. You all need to seriously RESEARCH what he says, what you THINK, what the media SPECULATES, and ultimately, what you believe.

    If you look at what the guy makes by using his smarts, then you take 13% of that and probably 20% like he says with charitable donations, he probably pays MILLLIONS in taxes every year. Do you? No. You don't. So all of you can hush up.

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

    The democrats sure know how to waste time...its better to know now which would-be american president is hiding money from americans.

    August 16, 2012 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  16. Ralph M

    That is half of what i pay, and i make mid 30's. Just think, we wont have to under educate our kids [and a slew of other things] if they paid their fair share equal to my percentage. And this "corporations are people too" idiocy is directly related to graft.

    August 16, 2012 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  17. Michael

    The question now becomes, since Romney loves to twist words: What kinds of taxes did you pay? How do those taxes add up to 13%? Release your tax returns! What are you hiding???

    August 16, 2012 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  18. Tom

    Just 13% in taxes?? Must be nice to be a multi-millionaire...Most of us middle class slobs get to shell out about 25% in taxes...As usual, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

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

    wow. thats still a lot less than i pay and i'm barely scratching the 6 figure surface.

    August 16, 2012 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  20. Paul Falduto

    I'm self-employed and I paid almost 20% on income of about $25000. And that's just federal tax. I'm not complaining, but there is no way I should be paying a lower percentage than rich folks like Romney.

    August 16, 2012 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  21. Patriot00

    Nothing wrong in paying 13% if that is what is warranted.

    Where I have an issue is why do you mor-ons elect folks who want to give loopholes,deductions etc for the rich to pay less. Reminds me of Joe-Mor-on-plummer.
    I am self employed I am fairly successful. I make a decent living. I make a lot less than mitt but pay lot more than 13% but also recognize for the same pay a regular employee will pay a lot more in taxes.

    August 16, 2012 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  22. jamarlin52

    Proof it mitt and release 'em

    August 16, 2012 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  23. martin

    Thanks buddy. I paid 35% and didn't park my money in the Cayman Islands in case I was audited.

    August 16, 2012 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  24. Katherine

    Wow ... all romney has to do is release the other nine years !!! How difficult can that be? Well, I guess it's pretty damned difficult to release the records when you know you are lying, and obviously, mitt knows he is lying ... lol. Just that simple, folks!

    August 16, 2012 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  25. Kevin

    There is obviously a reason he is not releasing any tax returns besides 2010. If he were truly honest and played by the rules, then he would release more than just 2010. He obviously is concerned about something. This is not going to make or break the US economy but it shows what kind of person Romney is. Sneaky and dishonest.

    August 16, 2012 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
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