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. JoJo

    Reid was smart. He got him to at least disclose a little.

    August 16, 2012 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  2. SciGuy

    The democrats are hypocrites. The repubs are hypocrites. Anyone who votes for Romney or Obama is part of the problem.

    August 16, 2012 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  3. Tubby the Tuba Texas

    Yeah, we know what Romney says, lets see the truth, if it is the truth! He can say it over and over and only the Republicans will think it is wonderful.....unless he was a Democrat....we know how the game is played!

    August 16, 2012 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  4. patriot

    wow – and he wants to cut even more tax? Gives a glimpse of what a free rider he and his peers are. Making middle class carry the burden – now I know why the rich boys have teamed up to defeat Obama.

    August 16, 2012 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  5. Becca

    Sure Adam I'll be glad to help the mitten kid out I can tell him how to fix the whole country!!!!!

    August 16, 2012 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  6. mantex

    LOL .... he really does not get it. He has made multimillions and paid 13% ..... the US middle class makeS less than 100K and pays 20% ..... OR MORE.!!!!!

    Send his Bush tax cuts for the rich packing.............. enough already........... !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 16, 2012 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  7. Jim

    Show me, don't tell me.

    August 16, 2012 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  8. Name. Randy

    All Obama and the democrats can do is attack Romney, Ryan and the Republicans because they cannot say anything positive about themselves. Obama even bringing up Romney having a dog on top of his car a long time ago. But at least Romney never bowed to a Saudie prince.

    August 16, 2012 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  9. Simm7

    Mitt, If you are telling the truth, the best thing to do is release the returns. Again, if you are telling the truth, now is the time to show them so you take all the wind out of Reid's sails. Reid will then look like a fool and the Democrats will be scrambling hard and losing points fast. But again this is if you are telling the truth and you release your returns to prove it.

    August 16, 2012 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  10. skarphace

    Romney (in his best falsetto):

    "Would I lie to you?
    Would I lie to you baby?
    Now would I say something that wasn't true?
    I ask you, now baby, would I lie to you?"

    August 16, 2012 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  11. truindep

    elect him, maybe he will share his secrets

    August 16, 2012 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  12. Randy Johnson

    Wow 13%!!!!! that is an enormous amount of tax – like wow Romney I feel like donating to your church or something!!! Like ho-lee – how did you afford to put all those kids through school by paying that much???

    August 16, 2012 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  13. Bart

    Doubtful. Why not prove it?

    August 16, 2012 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  14. Rennes11

    Notice he doesn't say what the taxes are, that could be sales tax, state taxes, or something else. There is no mention of Federal taxes or income tax.

    August 16, 2012 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  15. Skipper

    Show us the returns, Mittens.... No returns, no vote.

    August 16, 2012 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  16. Roscoe Chait

    I guess Romney is proud that he only paid 13% taxes over the past 10 years. While the rest of us slobs pay a heck of a lot more.

    August 16, 2012 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  17. TgBvt

    @Adam – Right, we need to just focus on fixing unemployment so that we (as in you and I, not the rich) can pay down the debt. It's not important to ensure that schmucks like Romney pay their fair share as well. Hell, we should just not make the rich pay any taxes. You and I can just pay more instead, right?

    August 16, 2012 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  18. michelle - san francisco

    should we believe it? show us

    August 16, 2012 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  19. Mstar

    Yea I'm sure he did pay 13%+ on the net $200 personal income he claimed for those years. You call this a small issue? Sure we would all love to focus on the real issues, but I am very interested why Mitt won't release tax returns, he is after all running for president! Right wing folks love to make the personal lives of candidates into issues. I think the financial history of the person who we are electing to "run" this country is more a legitimate concern.

    August 16, 2012 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  20. Solitaire

    So Anne Romney just said on TV that there won't be any more information on their taxes forthcoming because it would just be used as ammunition against them. Is that supposed to be helpful? Isn't that equivalent to "pleading the 5th?" Can't tell us more as it wouldn't look so good for you? Interesting. My mustache is almost curling itself.

    August 16, 2012 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  21. packerfans

    Vote Mitt/Ryan who can save America!!! Israel and World!!

    August 16, 2012 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  22. Rick

    I want to see those tax returns, and the long form please!

    August 16, 2012 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  23. Bill

    Why in the world is Mitt telling us what he paid??? Why not release the tax returns? Let your tax returns the past 10 years do the talking for you! What is he trying to hide that he cannot answer a simple character of fitness question in seeking the highest office in the land? I mean, it's okay for you to question the citizenship of our President but yet you cannot demonstrate payment of your US taxes? Mitt you have made this a big deal in refusing to answer a simple question.

    August 16, 2012 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  24. glorydays

    Prove it, Mittens.

    August 16, 2012 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  25. Carlos

    As frivolous as this issue may seem, I think it is important to know if this guy pays his share of taxes, like me, and most other Americans. I think we already know the answer, but would like to see the evidence. Either way, I sure as heck wish I only paid 13% in taxes. He probably did pay 13% taxes on the money he had in this country. But what about the offshore, and Swiss accounts?? See, this is the speculation that could be avoided if he would come clean, but it will never happen, because it will cost him the election. Mitt Romney is the 1%. I don't really care who is President, as long as he has American's best interest at heart. Ole Mitt just doesn't seem like the altruistic type. Show me otherwise, and you have my vote!

    August 16, 2012 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
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