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. gregory

    harry reid is a poor excuse for a political "leader"

    August 17, 2012 02:25 am at 2:25 am |
  2. Winston Stanley

    "trust but verify..." Ronald Reagon.

    August 17, 2012 02:33 am at 2:33 am |
  3. small axe

    WOW! A whole 13%.

    August 17, 2012 03:04 am at 3:04 am |
  4. dm nash

    let's see..a statement with "if you add in addition to"....comes off as a red flag for B.S. ...and here it comes "the amount that goes to charity" – really? that adds up to 20% ? goes to government – charity goes to charity – & you get to write off on your taxes thereby lowering (not adding, or adding in addition to ) what is paid to the government.
    13% is pretty disgusting....

    @Adam....the Republicans & Romney seem to find plenty of time to waste on small issues....really? trying to convince us that the same guy on the kiss cam is "an angry man" makes Romney more likeable??? ...and is more obvious in underlying race bating than anything out of Biden's mouth. Every other day whining about another war on this or that and little substance about the war we're in. National and local level has been a waste last 4 years getting past the party of no unless it concerned gun rights, abortion and retrograde mentality on social issues and shoving their "values" into all our lives.
    BTW- Ryan may be the one with his hand up, but he's offered no fix to unemployment (besides continue to give millionaires a tax break so they'll do what they haven't been doing for 4-6 years – create jobs or some crap), voted for most of the programs and wars that created/ increased the debt – his record says it all. He played politics and caused the credit rating to rise thereby adding to debt, even his "plan" has been shown to add to the cost rather than save....etc etc

    August 17, 2012 03:09 am at 3:09 am |
  5. C

    This of course will not be enough for the left. They will want more, and more, and more. It will never end, and the real truth is that Obama and his party is desperate and will do anything to new lows in campaigning. No President in History has ever been re-elected in a failing economy, EVER. They only get re-elected when people have jobs and our worst worry is what's going on in OPEC concerning gas prices. Obama will make history if he is re-elected, and that is a scary thought about how a slim majority in our Country thinks, but 200 plus years of probability and statistical analysis in Presidential elections does not favor Obama, and they know it. In the meantime, liberal news like CNN will continue to do their best to support Obama, but there is nothing really they can say or do to help Obama in the long run. I deal in logic, statistics, and reality unlike the current Administration

    August 17, 2012 03:15 am at 3:15 am |
  6. Paying down the debt?

    How is Paul Ryan helping pay down the debt, when his party starting with Reagan and Bush contributed to most of it? Paul Ryan, your funny little guy.

    August 17, 2012 03:23 am at 3:23 am |
  7. MRN32

    The 13% he pays in one year equates to more than most of you make in a life time.

    August 17, 2012 03:43 am at 3:43 am |
  8. Suzi S

    Romney, we don't believe you. You lied to the MA voters when you were running for governor against O'Brien and then amended your tax returns when you were found out, which was legal, but unethical.

    Unfortunately, our lawmakers made it legal to steal from this country by way of an amnesty for breaking the law and hiding income in a Swiss bank account. We know you had one, even though you tried to hide that fact. I suppose you can't release your tax form for 2009, or it will show up there....can't skip it and give prior years because that would be damning...what to do, what to do. Oh, I know! Let's brazen it out and try to fool the people with assurances that can't be proven!

    Unfortunately, I remember how you had your people buy the hard disks when you left office of governor, and I remember that you told us you hadn't worked at Bain during the years of outsourcing jobs (though we later see your name on the Bain filings as being employed at "retroactively" changed that, like you "retroactively" changed your residence so you could run in the Massachusetts race). Excuse me if I'm not impressed by your reassurances.

    I really don't care how much money Romney made or what tax rate he paid; I want to know if he stole from our country and was granted amnesty when caught. To me, as a voter, this is not trivial.

    August 17, 2012 03:51 am at 3:51 am |
  9. Jill

    Prove it....release your taxes......what have you got to hide?

    August 17, 2012 03:53 am at 3:53 am |
  10. nick

    Does he mean he's paid no less than 13% total over the past 10 years.?? Not 13% each year..Hey Mitt...I'll show you my tax returns if you show me yours!

    August 17, 2012 04:10 am at 4:10 am |
  11. Nathaniel

    I pay 30% and this duds he pays 13%. . Guess that's the American way... Rip off thy neighbor Romney?

    August 17, 2012 04:14 am at 4:14 am |
  12. FXS

    13%? Must be nice...

    August 17, 2012 04:40 am at 4:40 am |
  13. RDM3

    Romney claims to have paid 13% for the last 10 years huh? Let's see if this sounds right.....13% minus the 10% you give to your church (yeah it's legally deductible and therefore can be considered 'taxes') 10 from 13 leaves a whooping 3% of actual taxes paid on your income Mitt. Is it legal? Yes. Will you be done if you show America? Yes again....

    August 17, 2012 04:54 am at 4:54 am |
  14. Jared

    mittons is a liar, He knows when his taxes are exposed, the game is up. oh and BTW, consumers are the job creators, not the wealthy. The comsumer dictates staffing levels, without them, you don't have a buissness.

    August 17, 2012 05:03 am at 5:03 am |
  15. edward

    cool he paid 13% instead of 25% ok. You would think people would want to know how he did it so they can do the same. Who cares whats in his taxes, next subject.

    August 17, 2012 05:22 am at 5:22 am |
  16. Joanne Renshaw

    Is not honesy and integrity important for the President? He required the VP candidate hopefuls to choke up multiple years. Why the double standard? He must think there is something to it. He points fingers at Obama (but rails with pompous indignation when his honor is challenged), the latest being the negative ad about the man who was laid off and his wife died. The ad was paid for by a super PAC, to which Obama avered that he had no parts in. Of course, that is not believed, at least by the Romney flock. But, Obama did NOT comment on the ad that "I approve this message", unlike the negative add about Gingrich saying "Spanish is the language of the Ghetto". Romney too avered that he had no parts in that ad, but at the end Romney said, in Spanish, "I am Mitt Romney. I am running for President and I approve this message". So you see, with this example of his dishonesty, and many, many more blantant and some subtle, we have a right to peak behind the curtain. Remember the "Wizard of Oz"? It wasn't "just" of fantasy story!

    August 17, 2012 05:25 am at 5:25 am |
  17. You first

    "A spokesman for Reid... said... "We'll believe it when we see it."

    We'll believe Reid's charges when you show the proof, Bozo.

    August 17, 2012 05:52 am at 5:52 am |
  18. FloydZepp

    Methinks the RomneyCrat is a tax welcher

    August 17, 2012 06:00 am at 6:00 am |
  19. Dave

    How can this not bother anyone who pays taxes like the average American! I have trouble with a man who wants to be President using shelters like Cayman or Swiss accounts to hide wealth from tax liability. Legal or not this speaks to character when the "loopholes" he wants to close are the only ones most middle class people can use. Mortgage interest,education costs etc gone !People should ask how many jobs this self proclaimed job creator could have created with the hundreds of millions he hid off shore?

    August 17, 2012 06:10 am at 6:10 am |
  20. MightyMoo

    '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%."'

    The fact that you count charity donations as a tax is disgusting. I don't count charity and I think you should be taxed more because your paying way less then what I've been paying.

    August 17, 2012 06:16 am at 6:16 am |
  21. Frank

    13% to 20% income tax paid while being unemployed is a lot of money. Foreign investments? Who are the Democrats kidding, virtually all US union pension plans invest in foreign business and governments. Why? They pay higher returns and interest rates than US investments, especially since Obama has been president.

    August 17, 2012 06:25 am at 6:25 am |
  22. N,

    Adam, look up how many times the republicans voted on employment issues lately. Seriously. And then look up how many times they voted to repeal Obama care and other nonsense. Then come back with facts and look at your statement. Please use independent sources that are not biased by either party.

    August 17, 2012 06:25 am at 6:25 am |
  23. FutureWizard

    Why Am I paying 30%?

    August 17, 2012 06:35 am at 6:35 am |
  24. sim namore

    One of the few men who have seen Mittens' tax records is John McCain–he vetted Mittens for the job he eventually gave to that pillar of intellect, Sarah Palin. Why hasn't McCain come to the aid of his Republican colleague? Because Milttens is a liar and McCain knows it. Let us assume, however, that Mittens did pay a whopping %13–I bet he took the savings, marched right out and created some jobs–ya think? Rafalca says, "nay."

    August 17, 2012 06:37 am at 6:37 am |
  25. Manish Gupte, PhD

    How did he make his money? The rate last year is 13.6 which is 0.6 more than previous years? Does it mean higher income? From where? Can they influence the GOP candidate? bain? vc business? Feel free to check with US Airways, the name Oswald was mentioned and the flight attendant asked if I came from Tel Aviv..Also FDA.MA state dept (food testing not done, I have 2 month old sample), Waltham police, comcast (for logs on possible hacks into my computer), at&t (my phone misbehaved..)..

    August 17, 2012 06:46 am at 6:46 am |
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