Mitt Romney Overpays his Taxes; Admits He’s Not Qualified to Become President

Choose Your Own Tax Rate

Mitt Romney has always insisted that he has paid what he is legally required to pay in taxes, and only what he is legally required to pay.  No more, no less.  Indeed, paying more, according to Romney, would disqualify him to be president because the American people would want him to pay only what the tax code requires.

Back in July, when David Muir of ABC News asked Romney whether he paid less than 13.9 percent, Romney said he wasn’t sure. This is what he said:

Romney: I haven’t calculated that. I’m happy to go back and look but my view is I’ve paid all the taxes required by law. From time to time I’ve been audited as happens I think to other citizens as well and the accounting firm which prepares y taxes has done a very thorough and complete job pay taxes as legally due. 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. I’d think people would want me to follow the law and pay only what the tax code requires.

Today, in the Friday News Dump to end all Friday News Dumps, Mitt Romney released his long-awaited single solitary 2011 tax return.  And everything got weird.

His 2011 tax return reveals that his actual legal tax rate was 9 percent, but that he up and decided to pay over 14 percent.

How?  By not taking all the charitable deductions that he could have taken.

Why? Because he’d already told the American people that he paid at least 13.9 percent in taxes, and he couldn’t subsequently pay only 9 percent in taxes — he’s running for office for god’s sake!

So in filing his most recent tax returns, Mitt Romney purposefully paid more in taxes so that his tax filing would align with his statements to ABC News that he paid at least 13.9 percent.  He cynically manipulated his tax returns for political purposes.

And he admitted it!

[read full post at ABLC]

75 replies
  1. 1
    lamh35 says:

    Romney’s family trust sold their shares in Chinese companies as Romney’s campaign (and anti-China rhetoric) escalated.

  2. 2
    lamh35 says:

    Romney’s family trust sold their shares in Chinese companies as Romney’s campaign (and anti-China rhetoric) escalated.

  3. 3
    👽 Martin says:

    It’s ‘pete’s sake’. Mitts not that much of a rebel.

  4. 4
    Steve says:

    Is it 9% or 12%? I have seen both.

  5. 5
    spudvol says:

    Mitt Romney- Secret Socialist

  6. 6
    The Moar You Know says:

    Why can’t I stop fucking up?

  7. 7
    JGabriel says:

    Ryan Grim @ HuffPo:

    In a year such as 2008, when the global markets tanked, an investor would likely have more than enough losses to offset gains. Indeed, Romney’s 2010 tax returns show a carryover capital loss credit, meaning he had more losses than he could use the year before.

    Did Romney pay zero federal income tax in 2009? It sure looks that way — that is to say, one would think if Romney had more losses than he could use in his 2009 returns, it indicates he had a zero or close to zero adjusted gross income that year. Maybe that’s why Romney won’t release his 2009 returns.

    It still astounds me that someone running for President since 2007 wouldn’t keep his tax returns clean enough for public consumption for at least that year and the ones following.


  8. 8
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    The sad fact is, Rmoney does not have clue one about how much he paid. He’s got help to worry about that shit. He only knows what’s in the summary, and if the summary is off by a few percentage points, well, /shrug.

    If he underpaid, he reaches into the petty-cash-speakers-fee pocket and pulls out 50 grand or so and takes care of it. No big whoop.

  9. 9
    Jim, Foolish Literalist and Fact Checker says:

    Choose Your Own Tax Rate

    I think that’s the part of this that may stick, they played it too cute by half. If they didn’t actually retrofit the return to match his statement about never paying less than 13%, he’s so unlucky we can’t let him near the big chair.

  10. 10
    JPL says:

    On November 7th Romney will amend the last three years of taxes.

  11. 11
    Baud says:

    I don’t usually wear the tinfoil hat, but I’m suspicious about the honesty of the PWC letter. Here’s the key phrase:

    As you requested, we computed each annual “effective federal personal income tax rate” as total taxes owed divided by adjusted gross income as shown on the federal income tax return as prepared.

    Each of the bolded phrases is weaselly. “As you requested” is not used in any of the other defined terms in the letter (“effective state personal income tax rates” and “effective charitable deduction rates.”).

    “Total taxes owed” is not used elsewhere in the letter. In the last bullet, the letter uses a different phrase: “Total federal income taxes owed,” which suggests that “total taxes owed” may be a different calculation.

    Finally, “as prepared” is not used elsewhere in the letter. Instead, the letter uses the phrase “as computed based on returns as prepared during the period.”

    I think there be lying going on here.


  12. 12
    Lavocat says:

    Don’t you simple hobbits understand?

    He’ll do ANYTHING to possess The One Ring, The Precious.

    If R-money didn’t live and breathe, then someone would have to create him. And then, I imagine, if he were still around, Burt Lancaster would have to play him.

    We live in very interesting times.

  13. 13
    rikyrah says:

    Democratic Donors Awaken as Romney Seeks New Cash

    Politico: “Mitt Romney was expected to use a billionaire-fueled fundraising juggernaut to crush President Barack Obama’s once vaunted small-donor army. But things haven’t gone according to plan.”

    “Headed into the home stretch of the 2012 presidential race, it is Obama who looks to have an edge, thanks to an awakening donor base, aggressive summer spending on ads and ground game, and a Romney hoarding strategy that left him with plenty of cash in the bank, but not much to show for it.”

    New York Times: “Mitt Romney entered the final months of the presidential campaign with a cash balance of just $35 million, racing to find new large donors and rally low-dollar contributors in August even while he raised tens of millions of dollars for the Republican Party.”

  14. 14
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Baud: The letter basically says, “Dude, we did the calculations you requested. The math is accurate.” Left unsaid is what it means and how they got the numbers used for the calculations.

  15. 15
    Lavocat says:

    @JGabriel: Keeping tax returns clean is apparently for “you people”. What I wouldn’t do to be a fly on the wall @ RNC HQ right about now.

    Shit, at least w/ McCain, there was some small smidgen of honor left. With this asshole? Nada.

  16. 16
    Baud says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Oh, I agree. But one of the key points Romney wants to make is that Reid was incorrect when he said Romney paid no federal income taxes, at least for some years. I’m just wondering whether Romney requested that the calculations be done in a way to hide the fact that Reid may have been correct.

  17. 17
    the Conster says:

    Harry Reid + Big O got in Willard’s OODA loop. He’s blue screening now, and he’s got all the pressure in the world to have the best debate performance the world has ever seen, except that he released just enough tax info to raise more questions than it answers so he’ll be consumed with dealing with that too. He may actually go fetal. Popcorn!

  18. 18
    Lavocat says:

    @rikyrah: Cue Nelson Muntz: “HA HA!”

  19. 19
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Baud: It would be irresponsible not to speculate.

  20. 20
    Baud says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    The wingnuts speculate about Obama’s daddy – I speculate about Mitt’s taxes.

    Tit for tat.

  21. 21
    Chyron HR says:

    Where’s the long form?

  22. 22
    Maude says:

    @the Conster:
    Serious question. How does Obama debate someone so stupid and ignorant?
    Does the moderator say, Ah, Ann, would you care to answer the question?

    2009 Amnesty

  23. 23
    Citizen Alan says:

    Not to mention the fact that the craven bastard can STILL wait until after the election to file an amended return and get a refund based on all the charitable deductions he chose not to claim in his initial returns!

  24. 24
    Exurban Mom says:

    Also, too: Jindal and Christie, his two biggest surrogates…spent the week in Iowa, trying to curry favor for 2016 rather than campaigning for Mittens.

    Dude is toast.

  25. 25
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Maude: Engage the audience and don’t get distracted by the stupid.

  26. 26

    Romney incites tax speculation

    It’s expected that Presidential candidates release many years of tax records. Romney’s father stated that many years are required; a few years could be hiding something. Rmoney’s released one.

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has stated that a Bain insider told him Romney paid ZERO taxes for 10 years. The heat is growing, over 20 senior Republican leaders have urged Romney to be transparent. Come clean. Mitt’s decided that whatever he’s hiding is worse than the heat. This guy wants to run the country, claims he’s qualified because of his business genius, then hides it all.

    Peggy Noonan, respected conservative columnist, once wrote, “ … Is it irresponsible to speculate? It would be irresponsible not to.”

    No taxes for 10 years? He showed McCain 23 years taxes, and McCain picked Palin. McCain isn’t saying Reid is lying. Maybe Mitt made backroom investments on our wars, or the SLC Olympics. Maybe he aggressively shorted Bear Stearns, creating and profiting from our recession.

    In 2009, the IRS made a deal with Switzerland, ending the secret accounts. There was a one-time amnesty for the scofflaws evading taxes. Maybe Romney was caught in that. Speculations!

    Mitt could end it all by releasing his taxes.

    ADD :
    What if he didn’t tithe 10% ( he said it makes him cry : ), and doesn’t want his own church to see diff – or ruin his story – after all. Look at Ryan’s lousy charitableness!

    He doesn’t want to expose HIS voter fraud ( favorite Republican buggy0boo to inhibit voting) when he voted in Mass while claiming residence in Utah for tax purposes

    I still suspect he paid fine in 2009 for amnesty from exposed Swiss accounts

  27. 27
    danielx says:

    Mitt Romney: The Gift That Keeps On Giving.

  28. 28
    karen marie says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist and Fact Checker: There are an awful lot of stupid people. This was an exchange I had earlier on FB:

    Me: Romney believes one of two things: (1) the public is incredibly stupid or (2) it’s agreed that he does not have to conform to the same rules as everyone else.

    Someone who shall remain nameless: So Karen, now your gonna crap on him for paying MORE taxes than he was legally required to after giving $4 million +, that would be roughly 30%, to charity? Please correct me if I missed your point.

  29. 29
    the Conster says:


    If I were Obama, I’d praise every position Mitt has ever taken that aligned with his own, especially Romneycare and his pro-choice position of the 90s. Make Mitt debate against himself, like Kerry suggested, and watch him twitch.

  30. 30
    Baud says:

    Romney claimed $15,211 in medical expenses for health insurance premiums.

    But he wants to take away your Obamacare.

  31. 31
    gbear says:

    I started reading this post and was thinking I’d already read it. You’re a little too close for comfort to Steve Benen’s posting from this afternoon. Had you seen that already?

  32. 32
    Gex says:

    @JGabriel: I thought the other problem with 2009 might be that he was on that UBS list of felony tax evaders who received amnesty. It seems pretty likely that Mitt might have one of those UBS accounts. And it would not only show that he doesn’t pay what he “legally owes” in taxes, but that he is a felony level tax evader. He couldn’t keep them clean because he wouldn’t have received amnesty otherwise.

  33. 33
    dmsilev says:


    Mitt Romney: The Gift That Keeps On Giving.

    Point of order: Do we have to report the (considerable) value of this gift on our taxes?

  34. 34
    Gex says:

    @Gex: Oh, good God. Someone up thread made me realize…

    I’ve been wondering if anyone was going to ask him about the 2009 amnesty. Rather than have some hack journalist defuse and muddle that issue, it would be AWESOME if Obama brought this to the consciousness of the country in the debates.

    That would be fun.

  35. 35
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @dmsilev: If you don’t tell, I won’t say anything.

  36. 36
    Joel says:

    Hate to say it, but this is mountain out of molehill stuff. Kind of like “You didn’t build that!” type stuff. Leave it to the wingnuts.

  37. 37
    The Dangerman says:


    Romney claimed $15,211 in medical expenses for health insurance premiums.

    WTF? Someone with his money should just have the highest limit catastrophic coverage and pay the rest out of petty cash.

  38. 38
    geg6 says:

    It’s the 2009 amnesty. I can’t imagine what else it could be. Why else would you release an obvious bullshit statement filled with weasel words about being a summary of a decade’s (?) worth of taxes instead of the actual returns? Especially since this was bound to get people talking about his taxes again.

    He’s an admitted tax cheat. And he doesn’t want anyone to know. He never thought the proles would be so impertinent as to insist on prying into things that he’s told them is none of their business. He’s sure he can tough this out and that, in the end, it will come to nothing.

    That means it’s our job to make sure the opposite happens.

  39. 39
    the Conster says:


    I’ve been assuming that Team O knows everything about what Romney’s hiding since several people from the McCain team saw the returns, and everyone hates him. Like I said a couple of days ago, O’s oppo team are the most frustrated people in the world because Mitt’s doing their job for them, and they haven’t been able to use the good stuff yet. Think about Stericycle – that hasn’t even been a factor. It’s amazing.

  40. 40
    geg6 says:


    Your concern is duly noted.

  41. 41
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Joel: It may be a tiny anvil, but I say toss it to him.

  42. 42
    Gex says:

    @the Conster: I wonder when those things are going to get deployed. Or if Romney is going to cheat the taxpayers out of that epic smack down like he cheats us out of everything else.

    And good Lord, Mitt really is good at fucking up. I haven’t even heard of Stericycle yet. Unless I just don’t know what it’s called. Time to Google!

    ETA: I just didn’t know what it was called.

  43. 43
    amk says:

    @Baud: aka cya.

  44. 44
    geg6 says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    This. You have to be relentless and take advantage of any and all weaknesses. I want the Rmoneybot to be leaking wire from dozens and dozens of punctures in his casing.

  45. 45
    lamh35 says:

    I’ve posted this elsewhere, but I gotta post it here too, because I just cannot understand why the Romney camp thought this would be a good idea?

    Alex Castellanos, who worked for Mitt Romney in 2008 and continues to be a Republican political consultant, tells Politico’s Maggie Haberman that he is not impressed with the optics of Romney’s tax dump move: “At first I thought this was an April Fool’s Joke,” said Castellanos, who tweeted something to that effect at me earlier. “But it isn’t April. I can’t imagine that David Axelrod will now say, I’m glad Mitt put this issue behind him. This will drag Mitt’s taxes back into the debate. And there’s not many days left. I just can’t imagine why they would do this. There are 40 days left and you have now made more of them about Mitt’s taxes….you don’t serve a life sentence and then confess afterward. They’ve taken their beating on this (already) … I just don’t understand how a (being) ‘little pregnant’ strategy

  46. 46
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: It is his tiny anvil, which belongs to him. It is his.

  47. 47
    Cacti says:

    What impresses me most about team Willard is, after consecutive weeks where he danced over the corpse of a US Ambassador, then called half the population irresponsible freeloaders…

    He’s now deftly steering the conversation back to his income taxes and how he still won’t release more than 2-years of returns.


  48. 48
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: Ann Elk?

  49. 49
    amk says:

    @Joel: False equivalence. ‘in what context, joel’ as chucky toady will say.

  50. 50
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Cacti: He does have a certain je ne sais quoi, yes?

  51. 51
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Yes.

  52. 52
    Cacti says:

    I’m only 30-something, so I have to ask our older BJ’ers.

    Has there been another candidate of recent vintage who stepped on their own d*ck as badly as Willard? It almost feels like he’s trying to lose on purpose.

  53. 53
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Cacti: At 48, I have to say, no.

  54. 54
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Cacti: You know, I don’t want to jinx anything, but mr ALL CAPS TO UNLIMITED CASH VICTORY WITH SUPER BOWL COMMERCIALS! hasn’t been around lately. Could Mitt have lost the real base?

  55. 55
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Cacti: You mean a general election candidate? No, although McGrumpypants was pretty close.

  56. 56
    Sly says:

    “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.”

    When rich people take advantage of tax policies to reduce their tax liability, they are savvy financial engineers who are demonstrating their intelligence and gumption. When poor people take advantage of tax policies to reduce their tax liability, they are invidious parasites who are demonstrating their lack of personal responsibility.

    When rich people receive government benefits, it is in the national interest because they are the indispensable producers and we need to do everything possible keep them producing (even if it means them doing all that producing in other countries). When poor people receive government benefits, they are mooching off the public teat and participating in an “entitlement society” where no one actually produces anything.

  57. 57
    amk says:


    It almost feels like he’s trying to lose on purpose.

    I had put up a bet here that mitt will pull out. It still stands.

  58. 58
    Smiling Mortician says:

    Um. WTF is wrong with Benjy Sarlin at TPM?

    What We Learned
    • Harry Reid Was Wrong Sen. Harry Reid’s notoriously unsubstantiated claim that Romney paid no taxes for 10 years is not true.

    We’ve learned no such thing. Unless we’ve all been shown Mitt’s full federal tax returns for the past couple of decades and I just wasn’t paying attention.

  59. 59
    Cacti says:

    Also, too. It’s absolutely the business of the country to know whether candidate Romney took the Swiss amnesty.

    Because if so, he is a felon. A criminal tax evader who took advantage of a get out of jail free card.

  60. 60
    Joel says:

    @amk: Not talking about the significance, talking ’bout the political value. It’s really not going to be a blip on anyone’s radar.

  61. 61
    Jewish Steel says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: How could Mitt have ever lost the base?

    @Smiling Mortician: BOTH SIDES DO IT!

  62. 62
    GxB says:

    @lamh35: A theory – best read in a David Attenborough accent:

    Like a peacock, the rare and mesmerizing Money BooBoo Bird flaunts its genetic worth by audaciously displaying the burdens of it’s superior breeding. On the subconscious level, surely the prospective voter must choose this spectacular specimen over any other, as the blinding stupidity and rank incompetence would kill lesser candidates in the primary…

  63. 63
    Cacti says:

    @Smiling Mortician:

    We’ve learned no such thing. Unless we’ve all been shown Mitt’s full federal tax returns for the past couple of decades and I just wasn’t paying attention.


    An unsworn statement from Mitt’s accountants means precisely d*ck.

  64. 64
    amk says:

    @Smiling Mortician:

    Harry is standing his ground.

    The information released today by Mitt Romney reveals he manipulated 1 of the only 2 yrs of tax returns he’s seen fit to show the country

  65. 65
    Calouste says:


    Most likely the $200,000 in bonusses for Mitt’s campaign head honcho’s came out of the online astroturfing budget.

    So our “unlimited” cash friend is now back to working truckstop restrooms for a living.

  66. 66
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Meh, I don’t think consistency is high on their list of worries.

  67. 67
    Smiling Mortician says:

    @amk: Harry is sort of my hero these days.

  68. 68
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Completely unrelated to anything, but I found this little piece of brilliance on YouTube. Who know about Cookie Monster’s dark side?

  69. 69
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    As I mentioned in an earlier thread, the very rich have the luxury of choosing the tax rate they pay so that it benefits them the most.

    @Smiling Mortician:

    WTF is wrong with Benjy Sarlin at TPM?

    The thing that’s wrong with TPM in general: it stopped doing journalism because HuffPo-style headline bullshit was more lucrative for pageviews.

  70. 70
    FlipYrWhig says:


    Has there been another candidate of recent vintage who stepped on their own d*ck as badly as Willard?

    Ross Perot 1992 comes close.

  71. 71
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @pseudonymous in nc: There was a particularly egregious example of that tendency earlier this week, when their headline said something about a drug lab scandal involving Deval Patrick, hinting (it would seem) that he was accused of doing drugs, when the real story was something about a medical examiner’s office mishandling samples. Very slimy.

  72. 72
    dance around in your bones says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Uh, awesome? No, really.

    I think God’s ALWAYS away on business.

  73. 73
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @dance around in your bones: I love both Cookie Monster and Tom Waits, but the I’m the Man.

  74. 74
    dance around in your bones says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Well, ya gotta look sharp!

  75. 75
    Porlock Junior says:

    @The Dangerman:

    Someone with his money should just have the highest limit catastrophic coverage and pay the rest out of petty cash.

    Right, because of course insurance is always a losing proposition on the odds, and we accept that loss because we can’t afford the risk of a great big piece of bad luck.

    But with his money? He’s paying to protect himself against some medical expense way up in the millions of dollars? Anything in the low millions would be regrettable but not a threat to his well-being. Just how do you run up 10 mil in medical expenses? Anyway, better to self-insure such risks.

    The transaction makes sense only if the cost of the protection is subsidized somewhere. And the tax deduction can hardly be big enough to make it make sense–especially at the low marginal rate, like maybe 16%, that he’s paying.

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