Romney Campaign Says He Paid More Taxes Than He Had To
Under-reported his 2011 charitable giving to keep his tax rate above 13 percent. He'd earlier said that paying more taxes than you have to is disqualifying, but this is a "unique" situation.
Mitt Romney's campaign announced Friday that they will release the Republican nominee's 2011 tax returns this afternoon at 3 p.m., which will reveal the candidate paid a marginal rate of 14.1 percent.
Romney's blind trust trustee, R. Bradford Malt, said Romney artificially kept his marginal rate above 13 percent — the rate below which he says he has never paid — by not reporting nearly half his charitable giving.
The move seemed to contradict Romney's earlier position on the subject of tax payments.
“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 said in July.
An email to the Romney campaign account dedicated to responding to questions about tax returns, email@example.com, produced this response:
He 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%. In order to be consistent with that statement, the Romneys limited their deduction of charitable contributions.
Romney had released his 2010 tax return, and has been under pressure from Democrats to release many more years.
Romney's campaign obtained a letter from his tax preparer, PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP, to attest to his tax rate over the past two decades, which the campaign hopes will put an end to claims he never paid taxes for a decade.
According to the letter from the firm, Romney's average annual effective federal tax rate from 1990-2009 was 20.20 percent, with the lowest rate being 13.66 percent.
The letter also states that the Romneys gave to charity an average of 13.45 percent of their adjusted gross income over that period. In 2011 they donated nearly 30 percent of their income to charity.
Brad Malt Blog Post:
This morning, Gov. and Mrs. Romney filed their 2011 tax return with the IRS. At 3:00pm today, the Romney for President campaign will be posting the 2011 return online.
The complete 2011 tax return, with full schedules, statements, and attachments, will be made available with all other previously-disclosed information at www.mittromney.com/disclosure.
Also posted will be a notarized letter from the Romneys’ tax preparer, PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP (PWC), giving a summary of tax rates from the Romneys’ tax returns for the 20-year period of 1990-2009.
In advance of the posting of these new documents, I wanted to provide some top-line details.
Regarding the newly-filed 2011 Tax Return:
· In 2011, the Romneys paid $1,935,708 in taxes on $13,696,951 in mostly investment income.
· The Romneys’ effective tax rate for 2011 was 14.1%.
· The Romneys donated $4,020,772 to charity in 2011, amounting to nearly 30% of their income.
· The Romneys claimed a deduction for $2.25 million of those charitable contributions.
· The Romneys’ generous charitable donations in 2011 would have significantly reduced their tax obligation for the year. The Romneys thus limited their deduction of charitable contributions to conform to the Governor's statement in August, based upon the January estimate of income, that he paid at least 13% in income taxes in each of the last 10 years.
As with the 2010 tax return, the 2011 tax return will appear as four separate documents. It includes Governor and Mrs. Romney's Form 1040 as well as three underlying Massachusetts trusts detailing the sources of their income. Those are The W. Mitt Romney Blind Trust, The Ann D. Romney Blind Trust, and The Romney Family Trust.
The investments within the trusts are managed on a blind basis by me, the trustee. I have sole responsibility for making, holding and disposing of the investments.
Regarding the PWC letter covering the Romneys’ tax filings over 20 years, from 1990 – 2009:
· In each year during the entire 20-year period, the Romneys owed both state and federal income taxes.
· Over the entire 20-year period, the average annual effective federal tax rate was 20.20%.
· Over the entire 20-year period, the lowest annual effective federal personal tax rate was 13.66%.
· Over the entire 20-year period, the Romneys gave to charity an average of 13.45% of their adjusted gross income.
· Over the entire 20-year period, the total federal and state taxes owed plus the total charitable donations deducted represented 38.49% of total AGI.
During the 20-year period covered by the PWC letter, Gov. and Mrs. Romney paid 100 percent of the taxes that they owed.
Finally, in addition to new documents related to tax filings, the campaign will also be posting on the same website physician letters for both Gov. Romney and Rep. Ryan, making public their current state of health.
After you have reviewed all of the newly-posted documents, you may have further questions. The campaign asks that you direct them to an e-mail account set up for that purpose. That e-mail address is returns @ mittromney.com.
R. Bradford Malt is a partner at Ropes & Gray, LLP. He has been the trustee of the Romney’s blind trust since 2003.