Mitt Romney’s lawyer admitted to the Democratic accusation that the Romneys could have paid a lot less in taxes in 2011, but they manipulated the returns so as to conform to an August Romney claim that he always paid at least 13%.
The AP reported:
But, Brad Malt acknowledged, the couple “limited their deductions of charitable contributions to conform to the governor’s statement in August, based on the January estimate of income, that he paid at least 13 percent in income taxes in each of the last 10 years.”
If you were wondering why Romney dumped his tax returns on Friday a week before they were due, we’re told it’s because he didn’t want the issue to muddy the debate waters. However, he has done nothing but hand Democrats a justification for their tax the rich a bit more policies. Mitt Romney’s taxes are becoming the poster child example of all that is wrong with our current tax codes.
One reason Romney pays so little is that most of his income comes from capital gains, rather than “income” and is thus taxed at a much lower rate. He also takes advantage of tax shelters and loopholes that have been the target of the Obama administration. The fact that Romney pays so little seems at odds with his disdain for the “47 percent” of Americans he claims don’t pay any taxes, and further at odds with his expression that he feels more Americans would like to pay taxes. After all, Mitt Romney clearly doesn’t like paying taxes.
Tax experts point out that Romney’s returns are missing a few details:
What’s missing, tax experts say, are the details of Romney’s retirement account from Bain Capital, including investments in offshore accounts in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.
Another factor thrown into the mix is the fact that Romney’s 20 year average of his taxes is a “simple one (i.e., the average of the percentage in each year) rather than a weighted one (i.e., where you add up all the tax paid across the 20 years and divide it by all the income).”
It’s a potentially important difference because the simple average treats each year equally — whether Romney earned, say, $5 million in that year or $30 million. It is especially important if Romney paid a low tax rate in a year in which he earned a lot but paid a high tax rate in years when he earned less. The weighted average would give a more accurate picture.
Romney told us that paying more than he owed would disqualify him from the presidency, but he has now paid more than he owed in order to make his earlier statement about never paying below 13% appear to be true. Not to worry, though, Mitt Romney can merely amend his return after the election in order to get that money back from the government, like any 47%-er would want to do.
Harry Reid points out in a statement from his office, “That raises the question: what else in those returns has Romney manipulated?”
As our former President warned us, “There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.”
Thanks, W. We’ll try to keep that in mind.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.