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. michaelam

    Prove it, Willard. Show us the tax returns!

    August 16, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  2. Greg in Denver

    Hey Mitt, how much of your income diid you pay the 13% tax rate on? In other words, you need to release your tax returns to see how much of your income was not taxed (over seas shelters anyone?) versus how much of it was taxed at 13%.

    And lastly, how do you feel justified in paying only 13% when most every other middle class hard-working American pays a much higher percentage? We work just as hard for our money as you do for yours, probably even harder. Why should we pay a higher percentage of our income in taxes than you?

    August 16, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  3. Kevin C

    13% on what portion of his earnings? Show us the returns and prove us Reid wrong.... or are you scared?

    August 16, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  4. alec

    Nurses pay 20-30%, police officers, firefighter, soldiers pay the same, the question to ask the Governor should be "Is this a fair and equitable system?". Nobody is disputing he paid what is legally required, I do have a problem with his tax proposals that have him paying even less if he is elected.

    August 16, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  5. Josh

    I love how most of you say you pay 25%. You might start out at that rate but you dont finish there. Mitt starts at 36.9 and finishes at 13%. Most of you guys dont pay taxes so you have no room to talk. I started in the 25% bracket and finished at 8%. I think its more than fair.

    August 16, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  6. Down the bayou

    WOW! How can I change my tax rate from close to 22% down to 13%. That will give me over $4,000/yr extra to help stimulate the economy and by default become a job creator.

    August 16, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  7. sam

    we trust your tax return NOT your mouth, governor..

    August 16, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  8. AceRyder

    Willie K, the govt doesn't punish you for working hard, it rewards you for investing/saving so you don't suck off the public teat when it's time to retire. It also tries to avoid double taxation.

    You are subject to EXACTLY the same tax laws as everyone else in this country. Everyone pays the same graduated scale on salaries/wages, but the percent gets impacted by types/quantities of investments (tax free, foreign tax paid, bonds, gains, ordinary dividends, etc.)

    No one is screwing you.

    August 16, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  9. Eiolgj

    I'm not impressed Mitt. I'd be more impressed if you showed your returns, or not, but that you took the money you have, your investments, and what you saved, legally, from taxes and actually CREATED SOME JOBS with that money, instead of hoarding it or buying or remodeling homes with it.

    August 16, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  10. IDontBelieveIt

    Lis Smith says "We don't believe that" – based on WHAT? Has she seen them?

    Stephanie Cutter called Romey a FELON on world TV & Web based on "What ifs"

    Harry Reid called on Axelrod – and 3 days later he makes his accusation on "What he MIGHT have heard"

    Even DEMOCRATS aren't stupid enough to believe that sheepdip.........................Unless, of course, it's HANDY to keep raking it up! It takes attention from:-

    "If you built a business, you didn't build that, someone ELSE built that!"
    The $211 TRILLION deficit
    The looming crash predicted by Fin. Experts to be "MUCH bigger than 2008
    The fact that the economy is imploding but Obama hasn't done anything to 'correct' it in FOUR years
    Joe Biden's "Keep y'all in chains"
    Falsely accusing Romney of KILLING an old lady..............................

    I suppose Romney's taxes ARE a good smokescreen – bit that's ALL they are.

    August 16, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  11. Bluecrab

    And I alwaya thought that any amount I gave to charity and to my church lowered my taxes. Am I missing something here? Can I count that as taxes paid?

    August 16, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  12. TruthSeeker

    Anyone, especially someone running for President of the United States, who bets against the US currency, has Swiss Accounts, money in places that are tax havens like the Caymans, etc., is nothing but a domestic, economic terrorist in my opinion…like his 2% billionaire buddies that do the same.

    Why is Romney so set on only releasing 2 years of tax returns, and not revealing his tax returns for the past 10 years…his own father “volunteered” 12 years. His time at Bain is still VERY questionable. He says one thing about Bain, but the SEC papers tell a completely different story. With so many questions surrounding Romney, how can even Republicans want him for President? I personally don’t care that he is extremely wealthy, I just want him to come clean with the American people, let’s see those tax returns…what’s he hiding? The more he dodges, the more questions arise. He is doing the American people a grave injustice…wake up America.

    He talks so much about Welfare for the poor, but fails to talk about all the Corporate Welfare he’s involved in. He would rather protect those in the corporate welfare system.
    In reality, I don’t think even Romney knows what he really believes in, except for the greenback. He has flip flopped on so many issues. His character leaves so much to be desired.

    I am an Independent, and the more I listen to Romney, the more I think I am going to vote for Obama.

    August 16, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  13. Mark

    Trust....but verify.....

    August 16, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  14. Fair is Fair

    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.
    I don't know how he did it. But one thing is for certain, your numbers don't take growth into consideration. Let me provide you with an example. As you know, IRAs have many ways of investing your contributions. Classic example is the initial investors in Microsoft... if you had invested $10K in Microsoft in 1980, you'd be a millionaire MANY MANY times over right now. I know it's mighty temptimg for someone who despises anything republican to accept... but it can happen.

    August 16, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  15. Cry Babies

    @SuperD....Well said...let them stew in their entitlement mentality and a culture that offers advancement that they think can only be fueled by big government.

    August 16, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  16. ELH

    "Who do you trust?" Mitt, stop asking us to "just trust you" and release the tax returns. You are the only candidate in decades who refuses to do so. Put the Liberal agenda to rest and show us the tax returns.

    August 16, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  17. Republican Class Warfare

    John in TX: His tax rate is the issue because billionaires with a 13% tax rate causes a deficit, and increases overall income disparity because you and I are paying much more as a percentage than Mitt is. He also probably did do some illegal stuff, which is why his IRA is worth $30m. IRAs aren't taxed, and there's a 30k/yr contribution limit. So tell me how he lived for 100 years contributing the maximum every year? He didn't is the answer, he broke the law by undervaluing assets. I've written checks to the IRS, but I consider it a civic duty–the price of civilization–rather than charity to the poors who won't work.

    August 16, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  18. Mary Sweeney

    Correction: He did NOT say that he paid 13% in income taxes over 10 years. You were primed to hear that. You inferred that that was what me meant. He did NOT say that. Watch what he said. He said he paid 13% in taxes (all kinds: property, tax on purchases, the gamut). The word "income" did not cross his lips. Why is that? That is the question that he needs to answer.

    August 16, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  19. Wake up People!

    And we should take the word of a serial lying flip flopping weather vane that changes his stance the way normal people change their underwear? Please Willard you rat!

    Now show us the taxes like everyone else did. Even your father.

    OBAMA 2012!

    August 16, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  20. LOL

    Well that would be 4% higher than what Apple pays in while making Billions. GE paid in ZERO taxes on profits of near 2 Billion dollars. And the CEO of GE is Jeffrey Immelt who heads up Obama's Jobs counsel which has not met in 7 months.

    August 16, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  21. Beverly - NYC

    Mittens I'm calling BS on your statement, you can't count tithing to the Mormon Temple as part of your taxes. Don't believe me ask you VP the financial. I thought the Mrs. said there yould be no further tax releases, I think someone's in trouble.

    August 16, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  22. Jan

    Time and time again MITT ROMNEY and HIS OWN CAMPAIGN continue to put out FALSE CAMPAIGN ADS AGAINST PRESIDENT OBAMA by altering President Obama's Speeches...and when caught in those lies they don't pull them back...HE AND HIS CAMPAIGN DOUBLES DOWN IN THE LIES....SO SOMEBODY PLEASE EXPLAIN WHY WE SHOULD TAKE HIM AT HIS WORD.

    August 16, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |

    We can't just take you at your Willard. You've already proven to be a pathological liar. Man up and release the taxes. I think you've done something criminal. Prove me wrong.

    August 16, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  24. scarf

    Mitt doesn't understand. He swears that he's fulfilled the minimum legal requirements and that should be enough for the great unwashed electorate. If he wants to be considered better qualified than the average man in street for the office of President, then he will be held to a higher standard than the average man in the street. In other words, the minimum legal requirement isn't enough.

    August 16, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  25. Republican Class Warfare

    If everyone played by the Romney rules, there would be no United States of America.

    August 16, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
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