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. Matt

    There is no substantial reason to doubt his claims. There's something in there he doesn't want people to see, obviously, but Reid's charges are immature and baseless

    August 16, 2012 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  2. Jordan

    Okay then release your tax records and it wouldn't be a big deal. Hiding your money in offshore accounts so you don't have to pay taxes is pretty serious.

    August 16, 2012 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  3. Daniel

    If you do not think this admission is not going to come back and bite you in the asset column, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I would love to sell you.

    August 16, 2012 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  4. Jim Hearn

    The guy made many millions, so what. He was successful. Then he hired the best accounting firm he could find to do his returns and preserve his wealth and then went on about his business. So what. There is no one who makes seven figures who doesn't take the same route. If he did something illegal, then he will get caught because the wealthy get audited many times more than others. Can we now get back to anyone with a good comprehensive plan to handle this crap our country is wallowing in...

    August 16, 2012 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  5. DJE

    I paid 40% taxes on average. Leaders are supposed to lead by example

    August 16, 2012 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  6. Mon

    It's quite simple. I can't fully believe Reid or Romney until I see those tax returns.

    August 16, 2012 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  7. AdamIsWastingOurTime

    Very simple, if it was such a small issue then why would Mitt continue to not do something every other candidate has done. Of course people are going to ask what he's hiding – they'd be a fool not to.

    August 16, 2012 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  8. Shawn

    Come on, Rommers. "I paid 13.6, or SOMETHING LIKE THAT." .... Seriously? Something like that? You sound like a guilty liar. Regardless, unless you publish those tax returns, it proves nothing. You can claim anything you want; Reids' charge still stands until you have something more than "or something like that" to offer.

    August 16, 2012 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  9. MrBig

    If Romney's tax returns were really squeaky clean he would release them and shut everyone up. The fact that he doesn't speaks volumes.

    August 16, 2012 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  10. Tod Smith

    No action Romney! This is feeling like a Dallas soap.

    Young Jr. Ewing, come clean now and air the dirt.

    August 16, 2012 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  11. Willyboy

    Prove it, Mittens. In 1999 you insisted on your opponent releasing their taxes. Same in 2002. Hell... You demanded 7 years of tax returns from your VP prospects as part of their vetting. What are you hiding, Mittens?

    August 16, 2012 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  12. The Mirror

    Wait, you're calling the democrats small minded about what may potentially be a case of tax evasion, while conveniently forgetting that 4 years ago (and through to today) the Republicans/ Tea Party called into question the legitimacy of Obama's birth certificate.
    Don't just try and pile muck on the dems, both sides have made plenty to go around.

    August 16, 2012 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  13. msk

    Romney had millions in income and paid 13%. I had income in the thousands and paid something like 27%. Please tell me again how this is fair.

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

    And Romney, you expect the American People to trust you after you lied when you were running for governor about your residentcy on your tax returns. Not a chance , Mitt. Release those returns if you want to President of the U.S.
    Oh and why so you have bank accounts in the Cayman Islands and a Swiss bank account. You want to be President of the U.S. and you hide your money offshore. No, Romney, you will not get my vote

    August 16, 2012 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  15. TomNPitt

    He's lying. We all know it. That money overseas seals it for me. There's only one reason to putmoney off shore – keep it from the US Government. The Pittsburgh Tribune (hardly a Progressive Paper) says the Government estimates there is 27 trillion off shore that we know nothing about. The GNP of the United States is 17 Trillion a year. And Willard thinks this is fair!! It might be legal; but only if you don't get caught!! If you do, remember three things: Deny, Deny, Deny!!!
    He's guilty and he's going to go to prison within six years. President or not!!

    August 16, 2012 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  16. Middle Ground

    Talk is cheep. Show us.

    You don't want us to focus on this? Show us.

    Your last tax returns had some embarrassing and unusual stuff in them – and yet you would have told us there was nothing strange in them either, right?

    August 16, 2012 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  17. mountainmama82

    Just showus your taxes. Enough already. The more you dodge the more we know you are lying ad hiding.

    August 16, 2012 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  18. Name crashkanz

    I am supposed to be impressed? I paid 30%!! It sickens me that one makes so much more yet pays less than half as much percentage wise in taxes. So convoluted I can't believe it.

    August 16, 2012 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  19. Bill

    Great Mitt, i'm glad you said you paid your 13%, now why don't you just show us and just stop your nonsense. This is America, not Fox News, and yes you have to answer such accountability and credibility questions when seeking the Presidency.

    August 16, 2012 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  20. Transcending

    Regardless of what the Dems wanna call it, Reid said his so called reliable source said Romney paid NO taxes, I don't care if Romney paid 1 percent it still make Reid and his source a LIAR.

    August 16, 2012 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  21. Jason

    Lol @ anyone who accuses democrats of not doing anything about the economy and or unemployment and then suggests Paul Ryan has. Have you even paid attention to what goes on (or ratrher doesn't) in congress? With that most scholars will attribute the lack of effort mostly to republicans. Please try again Adam.

    Regardless of this I don't think it is fair to take Romney, the man hiding his tax returns, for his word. If he was so confident he would just release him. There is something there even if it just makes him look out of touch.

    August 16, 2012 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  22. marjee123

    All he has to do is prove it by showing those tax returns. The tax returns that fellow BAIN INVESTORS said he didn't have federal income taxes for ten years. But I bet that's just the tip of the iceberg. There is something more damaging in those returns. WHAT IS HE HIDING.

    August 16, 2012 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  23. bumbling bee

    I applaud Mr. Romney if he only paid 13% in income tax. This is not his problem, 99% of us who are in his situation would do the protect our money from the paws of government. This is the government current tax law scheme. The rich get richer because they with the help of lobbyists enacted laws that cap capital gains through investments and dividends at 15%. Obama wants to raise it to 23.6% in 2013. Romney wants it to stay at 15%.

    August 16, 2012 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  24. Melvin Painter

    So how many of you liberals out there have paid more taxes than Romney?

    August 16, 2012 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  25. Techknowledgy

    Prove it.

    August 16, 2012 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
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