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. Elliot

    The headline on the Cnn homepage is incredibly misleading. "Romney: I paid 13% taxes last 10 years" is the headline. They neglect to mention that he said the words "at least". The first sentence of the article says it. Mitt says he payed at least 13 percent.

    August 16, 2012 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  2. mj

    Harry gave next to nothing to charity. Yet, he is a muti-millionaire.

    August 16, 2012 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  3. Gezellig

    @Adam..... Paul Ryan, is he the one who compares Romney releasing his tax returns on the same level as lowering unemployment? You know, things that Romney could accomplish with a phone call (releasing his taxes) with reducing unemployment (a tad more complex to solve). Yeah, ask Paul Ryan to put his hand down, but don't specify left or right, because he seems to have a problem making meaningful distinctions.

    August 16, 2012 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  4. Anthony

    Qhat about the president's taxes return of the vice-pres or ryan's I bet they all paid about the same in taxes year for year. i think it is funny when people dip up dirt when they are just as dirty

    August 16, 2012 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  5. escher7

    Right. That is what he has been hiding. And I am selling the Eiffel Tower for scrap if you are interested. Like he just went and looked. B.S. He knew what was there long ago and chose to hide it as he is still doing.

    August 16, 2012 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  6. JohnRJohnson

    Not hearing "federal income taxes" here. He's still hiding something.

    August 16, 2012 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  7. namryan

    Did he really have to go back and check to know what he paid on taxes?!?! He doesn't even know? We really have to trust him?!?! I think Mr. Romney has to show them!

    August 16, 2012 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  8. signswooden

    ah ah, and i see Bush hiding in a corner...

    August 16, 2012 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  9. Ms

    @ Adam

    Not sure why Paul Ryan's hand is up, since he refuses to cut defense and actually increases the deficit over the long term.

    August 16, 2012 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  10. nunya

    Prove it Mr Romney..... I DONT BELIEVE YOU!!!

    August 16, 2012 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  11. namryan

    The charity goes to the Mormon Church... not much of a charity, really...

    August 16, 2012 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  12. 2buttercups

    I love it. Mr. Romney says that he looked at his own records, apparently nobody else has, and he didn't pay less than 13%. Are we suppose to believe this without looking at his tax returns? Would the IRS only take his word for it if they wanted to do an audit? Does Mr. Romney think that we were all born yesterday? Keep talking, Mr. Romney. The more you do, the more murky your campaign gets.

    August 16, 2012 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  13. bam

    show your tax returns

    August 16, 2012 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  14. mim

    Thirteen percent as a combined total over 10 years, no doubt.

    August 16, 2012 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  15. Tr1Xen


    Amen to that! They're more concerned about Romney's religion, what authors Paul Ryan likes, and how much Mitt Romney paid in taxes. I'd like to see every person who's calling for Romney to release his tax returns publish their own financial records for the rest of us to pore over–Either that or shut their mouths!

    August 16, 2012 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  16. Patriot

    Yeah, Adam. Unlike the birth certificate fiasco, birth control, gay marriage, and light bulbs, the GOP really has their thumb on on the pulse of what's important. I'll bet you had never even heard of the national debt before 3.5 years ago, and it has been around since George Washington. I will bet that you don't know the difference between the debt and the deficit, for that matter. Learn to think for yourself, and not what Limbaugh tells you to think.

    August 16, 2012 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  17. larry calkins

    must have taken a little while for romney's peopleto cook the books judging by how long it took for him to finally respond

    August 16, 2012 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  18. skytag

    I'm not that concerned about the rate he's paying. I want to see what it is he obviously doesn't want the American people to see.

    August 16, 2012 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  19. Bilbo

    Asking Romneys to release his taxes doesn't take long at all. I typed it in less than 15 seconds. Romney is hiding something.

    August 16, 2012 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  20. Jim

    I make way less than Romney and I pay more taxes?

    August 16, 2012 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  21. Andrew

    See those comments? They hate you, Mitt and Minimitt. Go away.

    August 16, 2012 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  22. tamip

    Wow, what amazes me is that regular working class people would want to vote for a man who has no idea what it is like not to be super rich. How in the world would he be able to identify with the regular everyday problems most of them face, and he did not do anything to get this money except be born to his super rich parents. Go ahead, vote for him. He could not care less about the common man.

    August 16, 2012 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  23. Rommy Romulan

    Yeah? Then prove it, provide the tax returns like every other presidential candidate since your own father initiated the practice. What are you hiding?

    August 16, 2012 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  24. bam

    TRUST ME was the words mittens used when he CLAIMED to have lived in Mass and he did not and thusly is guilty of voter fraud

    August 16, 2012 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  25. Michael39

    Nice that he gets off so easily in taxes, while me and my family pay 30%. The Democrats are right; the tax cuts for the rich need to end. We've waited over 10 years for the supposed benefits of giving them breaks we don't get, and what do we have to show for it? – A Government incredibly short of money for basic services that all other first world nations pay for, and a world-record for a class gap, in which roughly 400 Americans now hold more wealth than 150 million other Americans COMBINED.
    You can't run an economy that way. Sooner or later it has to collapse under it's own weight, from money not moving properly.

    August 16, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
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