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Romney paid excess taxes in 2011. Patriotic or dumb?

Mitt Romney paid $1.9 million in federal taxes on $13.7 million in income. But he could have paid less federal taxes had he claimed a full deduction on $4 million in charitable giving.

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He appears to be physically qualified by any measure.

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The campaign released a separate report Friday — by Romney's longtime physician, Dr. Randall Gaz of Massachusetts General Hospital — that said he is healthy and ready to meet the rigorous demands of the presidency.

The report said Romney's heart appears healthy, and he takes a baby aspirin and medicine to treat high cholesterol to help keep it that way. He doesn't smoke or drink. And his resting heart rate is a low 40 beats per minute, in the range of well-trained athletes and reminiscent of President George W. Bush, who also had a low resting rate.

Romney is 6 feet 1½ inches tall and weighs 184 pounds.

As for his taxes, the Romneys' 2011 rate was slightly above the 13.9 percent effective rate they paid for 2010 when their federal tax bill was about $3 million.

They paid federal taxes of $1,935,708 on income of $13,696.951 for last year, according to the returns filed Friday with the Internal Revenue Service. They had obtained a filing extension beyond the usual April 15 taxdeadline. His campaign earlier estimated that he would pay about $3.2 million in taxes for the year, well above the $1.9 million actually paid.

Most of Romney's income is from investments held in a blind trust, and campaign aides have stressed that he makes no decisions on how his money is invested.

Most of the income for the year came from investments, which are now generally taxed at 15 percent whereas the top marginal rate for income from wages is 35 percent.

The Romneys reported $6.8 million in capital gains, such as from the sale of stocks and other securities, and $6.37 million from dividends and taxable interest.

Romney's vast fortune and his long association with Bain Capital have been much discussed this year.

Several tax law experts said Friday that his newly released tax returns would not be much help in resolving critics' questions about his sprawling finances — whether he used aggressive tax-deferral strategies, what might be the specifics and tax advantages of his numerous offshore investments, what was the source of his massive retirement account and what are the details behind his now-closed $3 million Swiss bank account.

Analysts said details about his investments could emerge only if Romney provided far more of his tax returns — including files dating back to his years at Bain, the private firm he left in 2001. Romney, who initially refused to disclose any tax returns, has drawn the line at providing those from the past two years.

"All the important compliance and policy questions relating to Romney's personal tax matters relate to the past," said Edward D. Kleinbard, a law professor at the University of Southern California and former chief of staff of Congress' Joint Committee on Taxation. "The issue has never been Romney's 2011 tax return — in fact, it is a distraction to the real issues."

Only multiple returns would provide details about Romney's $100 million retirement account and how it grew, Kleinbard said. He also said earlier returns would be crucial in knowing how often he paid gift tax on family trusts.

Joseph Bankman, a Stanford University law school professor and expert on tax law, said, "It's the Bain years we'd really need to know to have a full assessment of his tax strategies." Bankman said that the 2010 and 2011 returns "only raised these questions, but they can't provide real answers."

The Romneys applied a $1.5 million tax refund to their 2012 estimated tax payments.

The couple reported $190,350 in book royalties and speaking fees. And Romney also reported $260,390 in income last year from serving on various boards of directors.

Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and his wife Janna, whose returns were also released Friday by the Romney campaign, paid $64,764 in taxes on $323,416 of adjusted gross income in 2011, for an effective rate of 20 percent.

Just over half of their income came from Ryan's congressional salary. Other income flowed from rental real estate and other investments, including a trust inherited by Janna Ryan. They donated $12,991 to charity, including to the Boy Scouts of America

Associated Press writers Stephen Braun, Stephen Ohlemacher, Kasie Hunt and Philip Elliott contributed.

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