Democrats pounce on Romney's tax return
WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats say Mitt Romney manipulated his deductions to keep his overall 2011 federal income tax rate below a certain level for political purposes. The Republican presidential nominee is certain to face new questions about his finances.
Romney and his wife, Ann, donated roughly $4 million to charities last year, but they only claimed a deduction of $2.25 million on their tax return, filed with the Internal Revenue Service on Friday.
Romney made $13.7 million last year and paid $1.94 million in federal income taxes, giving him an effective tax rate of 14.1 percent. That was a bit above the 13.9 percent rate paid on 2010 income.
More precisely, the returns showed that the couple paid $1,935,708 in taxes on income of $13,696,951.
Democrats quickly leaped on the documents, saying Romney had claimed fewer deductions than he was entitled to just to keep his rate at such a level. Romney told reporters in August he had never paid below 13 percent in taxes in any given year over the past 20. Had he taken the full charitable deduction, it would have pushed his tax liability below 13 percent.
"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. That raises the question: What else in those returns has Romney manipulated?" said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.
Stephanie Cutter, deputy campaign manager for President Barack Obama, said the release of 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. Yet, Mitt Romney still wants to give multimillionaires an additional $250,000 tax cut at the expense of middle-class taxpayers who will see their taxes go up."
Romney, one of the wealthiest candidates ever to seek the presidency, paid taxes at a rate lower than taxpayers whose income was mostly from wages, which can be taxed at higher rates.
Romney's taxes have emerged as a key issue during the 2012 presidential race. He released his 2010 returns in January, but he continues to decline to disclose returns from previous years — including those while he worked at Bain Capital, the private equity firm he co-founded.
The Obama campaign and other Democrats have pushed for fuller disclosures, reminding the Republican candidate that his father, George Romney, released a dozen years of returns when he ran for president.
Overall, the Romneys' main tax return and separate forms for blind trusts totaled more than 800 pages. The blind-trust income came from hedge funds and other complex investment vehicles. The couple also reported $3.5 million in income "from sources outside the United States," citing "various countries." Their forms included filings on holdings in Switzerland, Ireland, Germany and the Cayman Islands.
read more @