death and taxes

Romney Paid 13.9 Percent Tax Rate on $21.6 Million Income in 2010

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign rally in Florence, South Carolina, January 17, 2012.
Confirmed: Mitt makes a ton of money. Photo: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

The Romney campaign has finally released Mitt’s tax returns after the discussion became a drawn-out, distracting sideshow for the candidate. The records reflect that Mitt earned $21.6 million in 2010 and paid a 13.9 percent rate on that, “using the preferential rate on investment income and charitable deductions to pay a smaller share of his earnings than top wage earners typically do,” writes Bloomberg. For 2010 and 2011 combined income totaling $45.2 million, he will pay an estimated $6.2 million in taxes. The release also shows  that Mitt and his wife contributed $7 million in charity over the two years, about $4.1 million of it going to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Romney’s 2010 returns indicate that he earned $12.6 million in capital gains, $4.9 million in ordinary dividends, and $3.3 million in taxable interest. According to Reuters, the Romneys expect to pay a 15.4 percent rate when they file their returns for 2011.

But there’s more in Romney’s 500-something page filing. From the Washington Post:

Romney’s tax documents are voluminous and extraordinarily complex, and his opponents are sure to comb through them in the coming days. They reflect the far-flung finances of one of the richest men ever to run for president. His 2010 tax return alone runs to 203 pages, crammed with information about foreign holdings, contributions to family trusts — and even a Swiss bank account.

In a conference call with reporters, Brad Malt, Romney’s trustee, called the Swiss account “fully legal, fully disclosed” but said it was closed in early 2010. He added: “The income earned on that account is taxed just as any other domestic or other bank account owned by the blind trust.”

Pages and pages are devoted to foreign entities in which Romney is invested. Many are located in places like Luxembourg, Ireland and the Cayman Islands, all famous tax havens. None shows much income.

It doesn’t appear that Romney did anything “wrong,” other than take advantage of a tax code that gives preferential treatment to capital gains income. He has no reason to apologize for that, nor will he. But he may pay for it.

Romney Paid 13.9 Percent Tax Rate on $21.6 Million Income in 2010