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. maria Bryan

    We the people need to see we can't take your word seening is beleiveding, so show us you Tax info

    August 16, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  2. andytobo

    What is wrong with Obama's spokesman? Who cares if Mitt paid 13% rather than 0%? That's impossibly low for someone making Mitt's money. Just rejoice that he was stupid enough to say it and move on.

    August 16, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  3. East of Eden

    Willie K,

    Well said brother.

    August 16, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  4. uhhhh

    Stop asking for mitt to release his tax returns... he did for 2010. google it.

    August 16, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  5. AnnsTheMan!

    Key words of this article: 13% personal income tax. Since his capital gains taxes and his income taxes are connected, he technically could lower his taxable income, and pay nothing on any of his cap gains, or pay a reduced amount. Sorry, but I don't think he paid that OVERALL on his taxes, just the personal income

    August 16, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  6. myviewis

    I'm more interested in Medicare, I sort of went down a long road with Obama when everyone was trying to figure out about his religion, college tuition, college transcripts, the whole family mystery and Pakistan.

    August 16, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  7. RAWoD

    Given that those who "demanded" to see the Presidents birth certificate are called "birthers", what shall we call thost of us who want to see mitten's tax records? Truthers?

    August 16, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  8. Andrew Lewis

    Why should we take the word of this serial liar?

    August 16, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  9. GI Joe

    I want to know how he got $100 Million in an IRA. At $5000/year Maximum, it would take 20,000 years. I want to see how he did THAT.

    August 16, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  10. Mike D

    Aren't charitable donations tax deductible?

    August 16, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  11. SuperD

    Romney, don't show these progressive fools anything on your taxes. They are nothing but a bunch of lazy slobs who want to "share the prosperity" aka Socialism. Obama has fooled these robots so well, that they are rooting for their own tax increases, a stagnant economy, socialized medicine with rationing, and all the shared misery that comes with it. These fools are not going to vote for anyway, let them scream about this all the way to your upcoming election.

    August 16, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  12. Barbara

    I wish I only paid 13% in taxes. We live on about $50,000 a year.... we pay way more than 13%....... this just shows how disconnected the man is from reality.

    August 16, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  13. what's up

    You would think all the lazy liberals would be happy Romney pays 13% or more in taxes. That's well over a million dollars a year. Think of all the lazy Obama welfare voters Romney supports.

    August 16, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  14. Malory Archer

    We paid approximately 22% in FEDERAL taxes last year, and when you factor in FICA/Medicare, it was closer to 28% – and we barely break six figures! When mittens and lyin' are done with us we'll be paying even more as they plan to end deductions for mortgage interest, taxes & insurance along with the few other deductions we plebes get. Yeah, that seems fair.

    August 16, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  15. Bill

    This guy just does not get it. He is running for the highest office in the land and thinks he does not have to release his returns. You need to provide multiple years just to buy a house or condo. And the arrogance is sickening. I saw a snippet of a new interview with his wife Ann last night, and she got testy at the suggestion they release more returns. "No more returns". Ok, Gladys. Frankly, I hope they keep this silly game going because it only strengthens Obama's hand and continues to show the Romneys' dettachment from reality.

    August 16, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  16. John in TX

    Why is his tax rate even a question? The question should be, "Did he follow the tax code both Democrats and Republicans have had their turns writing and rewriting?" As long as he didn't do anything illegal, why is it even an issue? And if he did do something illegal, I'm sure the IRS would be right on it. How many of you righteous people have written a check to the IRS for more than the line that says "Taxes owed" at the end of your 1040?

    Aren't we all bitter?!?!?

    August 16, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  17. Republican Class Warfare

    Hmm...I'm not inclined to believe you, Mitt. If the tax returns are sitting around where you can check them out to make sure you paid more than 13% every year (I pay well more than double that and I actually work), why not show the rest of us so we can make sure you're not lying? And also, this isn't a small issue, this is THE issue–the deficit is the issue. If you have millionaires and billionaires running around paying less in taxes than the rest of us, then stuffing a swiss bank account and IRA with undervalued assets (which is illegal), that's going to cause an increase in the deficit and it's going to mean the rich get richer while everybody else gets poorer. Tax rates are supposed to be progressive, because if you earn millions of dollars every year you can afford topay more than somebody who makes 40k. Get bent, Mitt, nobody is going to vote for you.

    August 16, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  18. Blake Smith

    Release the tax records let them do the talking. Nobody trusts you. I do menials jobs and pay way more than yur fictitious 13%. Please, if you can't come clean on this tax issue, there is no reason to doubt that your millionaire friends are purchasing the presidency for you because you will grant them tax amnesty like you have been enjoying. Talk of Patriotism? Hmmm Cayman, Bermuda, Swiss etc.and outsourcing the IRS too to Bilionnaire friends.

    August 16, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  19. NickAnast

    Gee, 10% (or more) in charitable donations = TAX DEDUCTIONS. Can't have it both ways, Mitthead. Your father did NOT take all of the deductions and exemptions available to him because he felt it was his civic duty to pay more than he was required. You can learn a lot from your father, Mitthead. Too bad you didn't.

    August 16, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  20. Malory Archer


    If any on the Left want to be brave, why don't you post the tax rate Obama paid last year.


    That information is out there for anyone who is interested. Look it up yourself.

    August 16, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  21. jim atmad

    #1, I don't believe Mr Romney, nor has he given me a reason to.

    #2, he said he "paid taxes". Not Federal Income Taxes, just "taxes". Well, maybe he paid Cayman Island taxes, and property taxes, and sales taxes on his Cadillacs.

    At this point, even if Mr Romney is correct in that he "paid taxes", Mr Reid could also be correct in that he paid ZERO Federal Income Taxes.

    Mr Romney looks more foolish with every self-serving remark.

    August 16, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  22. Learntoread

    13 percent? and we're supposed to be impressed?...i pay 35 % to the feds– i pay another 15% in the other stuff–city state health– i work until june to start getting my money basically– and these rich dudes just find new ways to screw the i donate as well...pretty about this– We all get on the same deal–even the RICH folks–we all pay the same–our fair share–cut out the loop holes...Mitt has 6 homes i am told–does he even have mortgages or just buy those places with cash ?

    August 16, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  23. Elizabeth

    If what he is saying is true, he has no reason to not provide the tax returns to back it up. In the words of Ronald Reagan "trust, but verify." I would not even consider hiring him for president without verification.

    August 16, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  24. So much hate

    I'll still take Romney over Obama.

    And you really trust Reid who got his info from an Anonymous source? Do you show people your tax returns? I doubt anyone but Romney and his accountant know how much he pays.

    August 16, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  25. Governor 47th In Job Creation (Excluding Off-shored to China and India)

    He expects us to have sympathy for him for "allegedly" paying 13% in some taxes (still hasn't said federal income taxes) and then because of his religion - which requires him to give 10% to the church that number goes north of 20%, while people that actually work for a living pay a higher percentage. While he was not creating jobs and stashing his savings abroad to avoid paying his share here in a time of war, the rest of us will be expected to pick up his slack while he would give himself another tax break. Robmey is clueless.
    We don't care about his "charitable donations" that he "voluntarily" gives to his church. We care about how he would give himself even more of a break while we pay more.
    As Ronnie said about Willard's last 12 years of taxes, we need to trust but verify. Show us your papers Willard!!!

    August 16, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
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