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. Michael

    How dumb does Romney think Americans are? "Excuse me, even though I'm desperate not to show any of you my tax returns, please take me at my word I'm telling you the truth. I mean, you people, should be happy I'm even offering you this information." btw, thanks Romney... I was wondering when your taxes would once again be the focal point of this campaign.

    August 16, 2012 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  2. asb151

    13% is a lot more than the 49.5% of Americans who pay no federal income tax.

    August 16, 2012 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  3. Emilio Dumphque

    Prove it. Show us.

    August 16, 2012 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  4. Mark Mywerds

    Wait, wait. Was it not Saint Ronald of Republicano who said and I quote "Trust but verify"?

    August 16, 2012 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  5. Angeal

    i paid 26% last year

    August 16, 2012 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  6. Robin Jones

    It's all a part of the Obama campaign trying to distract us from looking at their candidate's dismal economic record. And who could be a better Master of Slime than Harry Reid? Harry is lying, knows he's a liar, and doesn't care.

    August 16, 2012 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  7. blerg

    I pay 15% and I've never made more than 32K in a year!!!!

    August 16, 2012 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  8. Small Issue

    ADAM: SMALL ISSUE? The GOP focused for YEARS on Obama's birth cert and that was based on NOTHING. There is evidence that Romney uses major tax shelters. He wants to be the POTUS, he needs to prove that he follows the laws of America and pays his taxes!

    August 16, 2012 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  9. Angeal

    I paid 26% last year IS THAT OK

    August 16, 2012 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  10. dee

    If CNN had bothered to report the whole story, income from investments are taxed at a lower rate. I for one am glad that Mitt or anyone else is rich, good for them, they worked hard, or invested wisely, or both. I don't want any of their money, I didn't earn it. I am happy with what I can make through my own hard work. I want to choose a candidate who is rich, maybe then they won't be bought/paid for by slimy campaign donors who will expect big returns on their donations in the form of passing legislation that will benefit them. CNN also did not bother to state that Mitt didn't collect a salary when he served as Massachusetts governor.

    August 16, 2012 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  11. Yooper2001

    26% unemployment and he only pays 13%. I am retired and on a fixed income and I pay more then him. Mark me down as a independent who will vote democrat ( The party of common sense )

    August 16, 2012 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  12. JohnK

    Talk is cheap, Mitt.

    If you have nothing to hide, RELEASE YOUR RETURNS!

    August 16, 2012 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  13. John Grabowski


    August 16, 2012 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  14. Larry

    Amazing.... you Dems are pushing this while Obama won't share his original Birth Certificate and has his college records sealed..... that sure seems more like hiding something to me than this and the fact accountants and the IRS would make wure he legally paid his fair share by law. Could it be Obama went to school almost free and got in with awful grades as a foreign exchange student? YOu bet it is! Mitt at 13% paid more for the services he received than 1000's of you dead beat Dems on this blog or in our society. You are the party of takers not givers. What about Pelosi and Reid? Lets look at her taxes and wealth. Go make your way on your own! And lets open up a lot of the Dems in Congress records...!

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

    13% is low to those who don't understand the rate they pay after home mortgage, child care, beach-house second mortgage, ... deductions.

    I dare the dissenters to divide tax paid by gross income (for the new math folks ...). Let's say that you made $75,000 and after ALL your deductions you paid 11,000 – what is your percentage paid?

    August 16, 2012 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  16. Tommy Mack

    Dude, this man is a shyster. He's a Planet Kolob believing Mormon who is a tax cheat.


    August 16, 2012 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  17. John Blackadder

    I like his phrasing. I suspect he paid that "13%" in a couple of shots. Once in 2009 when he repatriated the money he held hidden in foreign accounts and before that when he didn't have his huge IRA deduction.

    Let's see the damn returns Willard!

    August 16, 2012 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  18. andrew

    my tax rate was around 29%. pooooooor romney paying 13% on his millions. take a hike!

    August 16, 2012 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  19. John Grabowski

    "Wow, the Democrats in office sure do know how to waste time on small issues. Does anybody want to lend some extra time to fixing unemployment or maybe paying down the debt? Anybody?"

    How do you think you do those things? You pay taxes.

    August 16, 2012 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  20. D-Man

    If that were true he would release them... Why is he not releasing them if he is telling the truth? And this is completely a substantive issue. I cannot trust Romney to be able to influence the nations taxes if he has paid little to no taxes. How could he ever bring himself to ruin the tax system that would have allowed him to pay low taxes if he did so? Just release them...

    August 16, 2012 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  21. kade

    Independant here... Waste of time you must work for FOX news. A waste of time was when the Republiacans, including super rich Trump for over a year was on Obamas for his birth certificate which he produced quickly. Romney needs to MAN UP and turn over his tax recored at least to the level all other presidents have. The only reason for him not it is because hes hiding something.. As a Teacher I pay wll over 13% in taxes. Here i am and the rest of the teachers in american teach kids to be honest, fair, do your part, when we have people like Romney hinding and only paying 13% in taxes, thats not doing his part.

    August 16, 2012 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  22. Spiffy

    Yeah those Democrats always wasting time on stupid things like birth certificates, and college grades. Oh wait...

    August 16, 2012 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  23. Max Escoria

    Wow Mittens, I have to follow your lead. You paid less percentage of taxes then I pay on the average tip to the young lady at Denny"s, and then you want her to pay in more taxes from her minimum wage job to support your tax shelters, thats rich, oh im mean your rich....release your taxes The people don't trust you or believe you. Mittens ,,,,,,

    August 16, 2012 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  24. packerfans

    Hey, why you asked Romney"s taxes because he is Rich??? What you never ask formers Presidents in past ,they are rich too and never asked that question!! What kind of joke and Obama and Voters Dem s joke seeking cheap a questions about taxes !!!!

    August 16, 2012 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  25. Eardley Ham Woodbury, MN

    Just show us the returns and let us do the math.

    August 16, 2012 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
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