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. karenlightfoot



    Mr. Romney, you have lost all credibility with me, and the zillions of voters across the USA. I, and zillions of women voters, over sixty five, die hard republicans, will now vote for Obama instead. Your sidekick, Paul Ryan is a nightmare come true. He is anti woman, anti elderly, and, yes, given the chance....


    August 16, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  2. harvey 60

    Mitt: Charitable contributions aren't part of your tax payments. And how do we know how much you're contributing without seeing your tax returns? How magnanimous of you to pay at least 13% of your "income", for which you haven't worked a day in over five years! You belong in a cell next door to Kozlowski.

    August 16, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  3. bethjoyce

    Oh brother!! Do ya' think we should trust him? Why not just release your returns. What are you hiding?

    August 16, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  4. Tom

    Wow... I wish I could be a 'job creator'..... but I work for a living.

    August 16, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  5. California Gary

    If what he says is true, then why is he so steadfast in his refusal to release the returns for public view? You're still not passing the "smell" test Mr. Romney.........

    August 16, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  6. Syd

    Ok Mitt, that is what you "say you paid," but considering how many times you have flip flopped on issues and you not really wanting to release those returns, I don't think we really have a reason to believe you.

    August 16, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  7. wgf

    Does Romney think that taxes are equivalent to a charitable donation ? Why would we "add-in" the additional amount that goes to charity (ie. the Mormon Church) ? Those aren't taxes. That's discretionary income.

    Romney seems to think paying 13% in taxes is quite an accomplishment. But it's actually the argument for increasing taxes on the wealthy. Some of the money he has sitting in foreign banks should be sitting in the US Treasury instead.

    August 16, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  8. Bill

    Release the returns or stick in your ear Mittens.

    August 16, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  9. Willie K.

    That's great! I drag my butt out of bed every morning at 6 a.m. and work for my money, then pay 25 percent or more in taxes. But Mitt allows his money and people like me to work for him - investments and residual income from the Bain years - and only pays half as much percentage-wise as I do. Is it any wonder work has been de-valued in our society when the government punishes us for working and rewards the investor so handsomely? This is just more proof that our tax system is rigged in favor of the rich. We do not need a rich man in charge of fixing the rigged system he has benefitted from for so long.

    August 16, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  10. yeahalright

    Oh wow, well, a whopping 13%. Guess everybody should leave him alone now, and take him at his word. 13% makes complete sense when I pay about 35% and make a sliver of what he does. Completely fair.

    And to think this man wants to LOWER them even more!!!

    August 16, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  11. Bill from GA

    I like the part where he says: " if you add in addition the amount that goes to charity, why, the number gets well above 20%. "

    Like giving millions to his cult is the same as paying taxes.

    Show the tax returns, mitts.

    August 16, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  12. Thomas

    If you don't want people talking about your tax returns... don't talk about your tax returns.

    August 16, 2012 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  13. Carl

    This is a way to dodge the issues that we are currently dealing with as a country! Who cares, he's rich he worked for his money. I would bet that most multi-millionaires have offshore account and invest in other countries. Why would they not? My point is WHY ARE YOU NOT TALKING ABOUT HOW TO FIX THE MESS WE ARE IN?

    August 16, 2012 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  14. Just J - Independent Voter

    I'm sorry he reminds me of a bad water salesmen..Trying to sale sand to the beach.. I just don't trust this guy.. He thinks the American people are so stupid to believe him on his taxes when he lies all the time or back peddles over his mistakes.. Naa, I wanna see those taxes.. Sorry Mitt.. I don't and won't take your word for it.. I know I'm only one vote. But one vote may be the deciding factor..

    August 16, 2012 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  15. Obama - Ending the American Dream as We Know It

    Harold - I make a lot less than Mr. Rommney and pay a lot higher tax rate.
    SeattleMM - That stacks up great against my 25% tax rate with a LOT less income, and it makes everythng okay.
    Romney invests money which means he could LOSE all the money. Just ask all the GM bond and shareholders how that works.

    You are not exposed to the same risk as he is. Without large amounts of capital like his, the economy would simply would not work, along with a LOT of people.

    August 16, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  16. GI Joe

    So he tells us what he paid. He didn't tell us when nothing was paid. He can't tell me me paid nothing.

    Even I was paying 28% the last few years (of my 47 years working). And that was AFTER DEDUCTIONS.

    We can't get those two wars paid for with no new revenue. And they did NOT create jobs after they got their 2 tax cuts in 2001 and 2003. THEY LiE. They hoard their money and outsource our jobs.

    August 16, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  17. spenteco

    The man has no credibility, no honor, no value for the truth or friends that value the truth. They are fiercely absorbed in making money by the exploitation of middle, blue collar worker, regardless of the devastation of families and communities. These recent ads by Mittens are just as blatantly false as false can be. He is claiming to be a man of great faith and works, but lives to make money and gain power. Uber successful at what he does but not worthy of the Oval Office.

    August 16, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  18. rbj

    How much did he pay in "Income taxes"?

    August 16, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  19. slk

    as news reporters are very keen to point out......Romney always says "taxes"....not income tax (Federal).....
    we all pay taxes: gas,food,presrciptions,etc.
    So which tax is he referring to now? Especialy since Ann Romney says,"you people" do not need to know....even though it is for the highest job in the country....and all others before have submitted many.
    So,...................I guess they are "special".......................

    August 16, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  20. tx1

    I'm sure there are some manueverings that might be technically legal but are aggressive and would be embarrassing and distasteful if made public. Like the Son of Boss tax-avoidance scheme he encouraged for Marriott while on their board that was later declared illegal, he has demonstrated that he has little regard for paying his fair share.

    I'm sure if someone looked closely they might take issue with his valuation of private shares when contributed to his IRA that later ballooned to $100M+ in tax deferred investments.

    Transfers through shell companies and offshore havens is business-as-usual for Romney, and he refuses to take responsibility.

    August 16, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  21. MI Recovery

    It's not what you say but what you don't say. He never mentions what taxes he's referring to.

    August 16, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  22. Jon

    Before ROmney ever shows his taxes ... Reid must show us who his source is. That way if Reid is lying, and Obama put him up to it, then the world will know.

    August 16, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  23. Matt

    Prove it! Release the forms or you'll get no vote.

    August 16, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  24. tykl

    If any on the Left want to be brave, why don't you post the tax rate Obama paid last year. He is a member of the 1%. So why don't you post the tax rate of the 1% bracket he is in, then post the tax rate he paid and then subtract the two and see how much he got out of paying for 'deductions' or other loopholes. Then take your self-imploding, self-righteous, hypocrisy and figure out how your going to spin the same 'lower taxes paid' story about Obama. I'm sure none of you are brave enough.

    August 16, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  25. BinaryTooth

    EVERYONE!!!!! Focus on tax returns and NOT THE ECOMOMY.

    Obama 2012

    August 16, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
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