WASHINGTON -- MiamiHerald.com/politics
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Friday released income tax returns showing that he and his wife, Ann, paid an effective tax rate of 14.1 percent last year.
The Romneys paid $1.9 million in taxes on $13.7 million in income, most of it from investments. They donated $4 million to charity, about 30 percent of their income, but deducted only $2.25 million of it from their taxable income in order to keep their tax bill above 13 percent, as Romney had promised during his campaign.
Romney’s campaign also released a notarized summary from PricewaterhouseCoopers, the family’s tax preparer, declaring that the former Massachusetts governor and business executive paid taxes every year between 1990 and 2009 and saying the average tax rate was 20.2 percent. It said he paid an effective tax rate of at least 13.66 percent every year.
That countered unsubstantiated charges from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., that Romney hadn’t paid taxes in 10 years. Reid said he was told that by an unidentified investor at Bain Capital, the firm that Romney co-founded.
The ongoing furor over Romney’s taxes had prompted other Democrats and several Republicans to demand that he provide more tax information than the 2010 records and 2011 estimates he released earlier this year. Romney had said earlier he would release the 2011 data when it became available, but he has consistently argued that giving more tax details would only give President Barack Obama’s campaign more ammunition.
Friday’s release did nothing to satisfy Obama’s campaign, Democrats, and other Romney critics.
“Today’s release of Mitt Romney’s 2011 tax returns confirms what we already knew — that people like Mitt Romney pay a lower tax rate than many middle-class families because of a set of complex loopholes and tax shelters only available to those at the top,” said Stephanie Cutter, Obama’s deputy campaign manager.
Reid on Friday criticized Romney’s move to pay higher taxes this year.
“The information released today reveals that Mitt Romney manipulated one of the only two years of tax returns he’s seen fit to show the American people — and then only to ‘conform’ with his public statements,” Reid said. “That raises the question: What else in those returns has Romney manipulated?”
But Fred Goldberg, a former Internal Revenue Service commissioner, said in a statement released by Romney’s campaign that the Romneys “have fully satisfied their responsibilities as taxpayers.”
“These returns reflect the complexity of our tax laws and the types of investment activity that I would anticipate for persons in their circumstances,” Goldberg said. “There is no indication or suggestion of any tax-motivated or aggressive tax planning activities.”
Romney makes most of his money now from investments, which are taxed at a lower rate than a salary. Earlier this year he defended his 2010 tax return, noting that he took all of the deductions allowed by law. “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,” he told ABC News.