Romney pays extra taxes to keep his word, and break it too
September 21st, 2012
03:13 PM ET
11 years ago

Romney pays extra taxes to keep his word, and break it too

(CNN) – Mitt and Ann Romney took steps to pay more in taxes than he had to last year, despite the Republican nominee's previous statements suggesting he abhors the idea of paying more taxes than required.

According to an announcement by the campaign Friday, the Romneys could have had a lower tax rate than 14.1% in 2011 if they had claimed more of their charitable deductions–an amount that equaled 30% of their income. Romney made $13.7 million mostly off of investment income last year.

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However, the Romneys only claimed 16% in charitable deductions, thus keeping their income tax rate higher, in order "to conform" to Romney's previous comments about his tax rate, the statement read Friday.

Speaking with reporters in South Carolina last month, Romney said he had never paid less than 13% over the last decade. While he had released an estimate for 2011 at the time, he did not release the completed return until Friday. The document showed he in fact paid 14.1% last year.

The Republican presidential nominee has faced intense criticism from Democrats and some Republicans who have called on Romney to release more than his 2011 and 2010 returns. Releasing the documents, they argued, would answer questions about the candidate's offshore accounts and tax history.

His move to limit his charitable deduction-and keep a higher rate of taxes-last year, however, seems to butt heads with statements the former Massachusetts governor has made regarding taxes.

"I don't pay more than are legally due and frankly if I had paid more than are legally due, I don't think I'd be qualified to become president," Romney told ABC News in July. "I'd think people would want me to follow the law and pay only what the tax code requires."

Earlier in the year, at a Republican primary debate in Tampa, Romney made a similar remark, criticizing the notion of paying more than owed.

"I pay all the taxes that are legally required and not a dollar more," Romney said, one day before he released his 2010 return. "I don't think you want someone as the candidate for president who pays more taxes than he owes."

To be fair, Romney did pay what he "legally owed" last year; he just kept his legal requirement lower than what it could have been.

Romney's campaign responded to the discrepancy, saying the candidate wanted to be "consistent" with his August comment.

"Gov. Romney has been clear that no American need pay more than he or she owes under the law. At the same time, he was in the unique position of having made a commitment to the public that his tax rate would be above 13%. He directed his preparers to ensure that he is consistent with that statement," a campaign official said in a statement.

- CNN Political Producer Rachel Streitfeld contributed to this report.


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Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney
soundoff (193 Responses)
  1. PAUL

    To Mitt Romney and the Republican Teabaggers; The 47% along with the 53% Built This City on Rock & Roll and You Mr. Romney Tore It Down! And Like I Said Before. Former Governor Mitt Romney, Won't Become President of These United State!!

    September 21, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  2. crazyvermont

    lol...guess mitt can't win no matter what he does

    September 21, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  3. Walker

    I still would like to see just 1 or 2 more tax returns. This one released today doesn't mean a thing to me in that he fixed it to so it could back up what he said. I would have had more respect for the man if he would have done it the way he always did. I am curious...just being nosy....was that $13 million the gross income or the final income after all the deductions and adjustments were made. some will find that China is NOT the largest holder of the US debt...however it is the largest of foreign countries. The largest holder is the Social Security Trust Fund.

    September 21, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  4. Deserttrek

    more liberal rants of the unhinged variety.

    obama and hillary are letting the muslim brotherhood take over the middle east
    obama is letting the corrupt and extreme unions destroy the economy

    and liberals are stuff on a tax statement

    September 21, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  5. Mike

    and Mitt is one of the 'job creators" that the GOP is trying to save from additional taxation. What jobs has Mitt created with his income this year? A few investment brokers, bankers, office personnel in the Cayman Islands, Swiss bankers, maybe some bankers in other countries, airplane pilot for private planes, support personnel for that plane, house maintenance personnel and landscape maintenance. Because, in America he has the right to squeeze the country, and the public, for everything that he can get...leverage...and profit from. The smart guys who play the game climb higher faster (it takes some curious perception of ethics) and get to a point where all that they climbed on top of and over to get there is seemingly unimportant. They are seemingly unimportant until they run for President, and then each and every American has the very same power that Mitt Romney has – one vote.

    Use it,

    September 21, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  6. Soundcheck3

    The author another left-wing shill/apologist for Obama. No matter what Romney paid, the author and the other apologists would complain and otherwise continue to bash him. The story should be that, unlike Grinch/Tightwad/Scrooge Biden, Romney gave $4 million to charity last year and paid more than he was required to. I also like the comments from people saying ROMNEY will say anything to get elected. Please. Obama spent all of 2008 promising people the moon and otherwise saying whatever it took to get elected. Then he spent 2009, 2010 and 2011 reneging on every promise he made in 2008, and now he's back to promising people the moon and blaming everyone else but himself. So much for the presidential mantra of The Buck Stops Here.

    September 21, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  7. Dustie

    The Question: Why NOW? For the same reason that Obama ignored those who kept clamoring for him to release his full birth certificate. Obama knew that there was no issue, and it was insulting to have to prove anything. I don't blame him, or Romney either for trying to keep focused on the real issues facing Americans.
    CNN would do well not to try to put a negative spin on this. It's tiresome.

    September 21, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  8. jon ellis

    The number that stands out to me is charitalb deduction.
    Obviously the Romneys are very chairitable people.

    To me the question is should the Romnys or the federal government decide where they spend their dollars.

    September 21, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  9. citizen17

    @r- you do know that the tax rate an actor pays on earned income is higher than what Mitt pays on his investment income, don't you? So your statement is wrong!

    September 21, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  10. Walker

    Bubba....if I made the kind of money Romney does, I'd give that kind to charity! donations are tax deductions...they make sense to do!!!!

    September 21, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  11. Wade

    No news of how he donated Millions to Charity. No news from CNN how Obama totally screwed up the middle east foreign policy. No news from CNN how we are now 16.3 TRILLION in debt, no news from CNN how Obama LIED. No news from CNN in fact for any truth regarding Obama. However CNN will tell you 10 stories a day about Romney and they will all be told in a negative way!. CNN is not news just mouth piece for Obama.

    September 21, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  12. Dave

    Here's my theory. He filed his taxes and they showed an effective tax rate of say 5 to 9%. Realizing that this was a political nightmare he refiled and manipulated his deductions to show he paid a higher rate. Next year he'll refile again and get the money back.

    September 21, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  13. Walker

    Hey Shirley....did you read about the Government bailout of Bain when Romney was running it? Did you know about the over $10million the FDIC which trickles down to the tax payers had to eat. Look it up! He's a business man alright....what kind you find out for yourself.

    September 21, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  14. Borderless

    With Price Waterhouse issuing a statement that Romney payed his taxes for the last 20 years, can we have a little sit down with Harry Ried? He owes the Romneys an apology and the nation an explanation. He should also face charges of liable and step down from the senate.

    September 21, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  15. Jackie Chan

    I thought increasing the tax rate on the rich would cost Jobs. Since Romney paid more in taxes than he needed to, how many jobs did he just take away from americans? I though he was all about Jobs. shrug.

    September 21, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  16. A little sad

    "Gov. Romney has been clear that no American need pay more than he or she owes under the law."

    But if you're income is sufficiently low that you owe no tax under the law, you do not take personal responisiblity.


    September 21, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  17. LBLA

    I'm glad to see here that everybody is an expert at tax law.

    I hear some people saying that Mitt Romney's primary reason for giving to charity is to simply get a deduction. For somebody that earns mostly Capital Gains (only taxed at 15%), that doesn't seem like it would be worth it. So if I earn $100,000 in Capital Gains and give $30,000 of it to Charity, I get to keep $59,500 of my money instead of $85,000 if I hadn't given money to charity (that's ignoring other tax credits and deductions). I'm not convinced that anybody gives to charity simply for a tax deduction. Especially not in the amounts that Mitt Romney gives.

    Even if you disagree with his politics, at least give him credit for his Charitable contributions. Of course, that would be rational thought, which many of you appear to not be capable of.

    September 21, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  18. Walker

    r - People like Bill Gates and obviously Steve Jobs isn't, or movie celebrities aren't running for president!! I'd be willing to guess that Mitt does make more than the celebrities do. Not many of them worth $200+million....

    September 21, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
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