Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
So Willard "Mittens" Romney wants to end what has been perhaps the worst week of his campaign (so far) with a Friday news dump of his 2011 tax return and, get this -- a letter from his tax accountant summarizing the tax rates he has paid since 1990. Is this guy for reals? Romney says he paid tax rate of 14.1% in 2011:
Romney released his 2011 tax returns at 3 p.m. Friday, as well as a summary of his effective tax rates dating back to 1990. Romney tax documents (PDF).
Mitt Romney earned $13.69 million in 2011, mostly income from his investments, and paid $1.9 million in taxes for an effective tax rate of 14.1 percent, his campaign announced Friday.
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Romney’s 2011 income and tax obligation are significantly less than what his campaign estimated earlier this year. In January, the Romney campaign released an estimate saying that Romney had earned $20.9 million in 2011 and would pay about $3.2 million in taxes, for an effective rate of 15.4 percent.
Oops! Wait, it gets better:
Romney and his wife, Ann, donated $4.02 million to charity in 2011, nearly 30 percent of their income, helping to reduce their tax obligation, the campaign said.
The Romneys only claimed a tax deduction for $2.25 million of those charitable contributions to engineer a higher tax rate than they otherwise would have paid. This move was to “conform” to the candidate’s statement in August that he paid a federal income tax rate of at least 13 percent of his income in each of the last 10 years, Brad Malt, Romney’s trustee, said in a statement released by the campaign.
This can get a little complicated, so let's be clear about the
details. If Romney had simply filed normally, taking all of the
deductions to which he's legally entitled, he would have paid an
effective tax rate of about 9 percent. *
But that would have proven politically problematic, so purely for show, he deliberately overpaid the IRS, in order to increase his tax rate, on purpose. Romney was in the rather extraordinary position of selecting his own preferred tax rate, and then working backwards from there.
In other words, Romney chose to under-deduct and overpay his tax bill because he's running for office for Pete's sake. That's not my argument; that's the Romney campaign's argument.
In January, Romney insisted, "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."
By this standard, Romney has now effectively disqualified himself.
About that letter from his tax accountant, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, summarizing the tax rates he has paid since 1990:
But much of this is still based on a "trust me" premise -- we don't have any proof to substantiate the summary, and the letter offers no information about various tax shelters and overseas investments.
Like the disclosure statements for the Romney's Swiss bank accounts, or whether they participated in the Swiss Bank Account Amnesty program in 2009. Just 'trust me" is not going to cut it with the American people. Romney clearly has something that he wants to hide from the public.
You should also take note that Romney did not pay "income" taxes from wages and salary like working Americans -- he paid "capital gains" taxes on investment income -- at a much lower effective rate than working Americans who pay payroll taxes (social security and Medicare withholding) at 15.3 percent (since the employer side of the tax effectively comes out of workers’ wages), in addition to income taxes if they earn enough income after taking tax deductions and credits. (Half of all American households earn $50,000 or less, and the official poverty line for a family of four is $23,021 per year). That would be the "47%" of Americans who do not owe any income taxes whom Romney holds in contempt.
* Romney can amend his 2011 return after he loses the election and "retroactively" get the 9% rate he clearly believes he is entitled to -- not one peny more!