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.

- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

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."

- Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.

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

    i prefer a birth certificate. let the IRS deal with that.

    August 16, 2012 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  2. Jane Marsh

    I am a business owner and a democrat....I know it is hard for republican to imagine a democrat that pays a lot of taxes and ALL of her own health insurance premiums without anyone's help. Well it's true and I am still voting for Obama.

    As a business person that looks at Romney as if her were an "investment" I would want to see how he performed for the last several years. ANY prudent business person would look at the financial history of anyone they are going in to business with. What is the problem with looking at the financial dealings of the person asking to run the free world?? Grow up and show the tax have enjoyed your wealth (and your father's wealth) for many, many years. If you don't want to release the information then don't run for public office.

    August 16, 2012 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  3. jamarlin52

    Prove it mitt and release 'em for the last 10 years.

    August 16, 2012 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  4. RayJacksonMS

    Am I supposed to be impressed that this elitist pas half what I do??????

    August 16, 2012 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  5. Bobbi Jo

    Well jeez, we make a tiny miniscule fraction of what he makes and we paid over 20%. How does that happen?? He didn't even pay the capital gains rate.

    August 16, 2012 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  6. rs1201

    Reid should be sued for slander. He essentially called Romney a tax cheat...he should pay dearly for that. He's a senile old miserable bitter man who should retire...he and pelosi, the inside trader. Why isn't Reid concentrating on his little inside trader, pelosi?

    August 16, 2012 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  7. kwn

    He's saying he paid over 13% because his extension that he's modifying is making sure it looks that way. Show the previous ten years and people will believe him. This is all a distraction from the bigger issue of his dealings with outsourcing jobs to China and India.

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

    Completely biased reporting, change your homepage. Liberal bias much? The dude paid AT LEAST 13 percent, not 13. totally misleading. shame on you, again, cnn.

    August 16, 2012 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  9. Dante

    Sorry Adam, this is anything but a "small issue"for a man running for President.

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

    Didn't say he paid any taxes. Just said he paid 13%. 13% on zero income is $0

    August 16, 2012 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  11. romney the crook

    Number of Tax Returns Released by Former Presential Candidiates:

    Obama.....8 years (2008)
    Kerry.....5 Years
    Clinton...12 years
    George W.....6 years (REPUBLICAN)
    George Senior.....8 years (REPUBLICAN)
    Dole....30 YEARS!!! (REPUBLICAN)

    So... What are you afraid of, Mittens? Hmmm?????

    August 16, 2012 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  12. Mordac

    What are you hiding, Willard? Show us the returns, Mittens. An innocent man has nothing to fear from the truth.

    August 16, 2012 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  13. StarfishPrime

    OHH WOW.
    Romney's been paying 13% in taxes.
    He should be paying a lot more.

    August 16, 2012 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  14. Miki801

    Well, That sure sets my mind at rest. Romney looked at the tax returns and calculated a percentage that is twenty points below mine. Of course, the percentage was on income adjusted for care for his horse, and who knows what other avoidances. Just show us the tax returns. Romney, Ryan and Rans, oh my.

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

    Wow, Just goes to show you the Democratic Senate leader has no clue what is going on. Scary, who is running The Senate ? No wonder why nothing is getting done.

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

    Hmmmmm!!! That's 1.3% per year for 10 yrs. WTG Mit "Rip everyone off" Romney!!!!

    August 16, 2012 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  17. GT

    He just proved the point that the very rich do not pay their fair share.

    August 16, 2012 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  18. Doug

    I make only 60,000 per year and I pay more taxes than romney.. There's something wrong with that picture.. Then he has the nerve to mention his charity donations, that's for Mormons only.. That's not a viable charity.. Get a grip Mitt.. My vote is for Obama..

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

    There is another choice for president and his name is Gary Johnson

    August 16, 2012 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  20. RDA

    Well, gee, that was sure nice of him. 13%. And I've been paying well over twice that rate for all these years? AND we're supposed to take his word for it? Yeah, right. He seems like such a truthteller. But after all, I guess, he is a job wrecker - I mean job creator. I can't wait to hear from him that he really stopped being an active CEO at Bain in 1996, rather than 1999, as he now claims. Or was it 1997? So many lies, and such little time before the election. Get those ducks in a row!

    Just do the honorable thing and release your tax forms, bozo. What do you have to hide? Hmmm.....well, now that you mention it.....

    August 16, 2012 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  21. D

    You think this guys just gonna press a button and get us out of trouble? youre not living in the real world.
    you think hes just gonna come in and push the world around, with no money and no popularity? youre not in the real world.
    you think the uneasy vibe he gives off is gonna make foreign policy better? youre not in the real world.

    August 16, 2012 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  22. fucifino

    I wish I only had to pay 13%

    August 16, 2012 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  23. Rocky252

    All he has to do is release his income tax information. Simple. If he does not choose to do that, then I am left to assume that he is hiding something. He said he paid 13%. Why not show it? Said he paid 13% in taxes. He did not clarify if it was U S Income taxes, did he. I believe he has more faith in the Cayman pound or the Swiss franc than the US Dollar.

    August 16, 2012 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  24. dH

    he likes hiding things. you know why did he bought all the computers / hard disks he used in his Governor's office)?
    can someone as Donald Trump to ask Romney to disclose his tax returns?

    August 16, 2012 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  25. larry5

    Now it's time to demand that Romney tell us what his favorite color. And on top of that what kind of music does he like? There are so many things that Obama should know about his opponent and these things take time. Imagine that.

    August 16, 2012 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60