Voice of the People: What’s Romney Hiding In His Tax Returns?

James J. Devine

James J. Devine

By James J. Devine

Mitt Romney refuses to release additional tax returns because he didn’t pay any taxes for 10 years, according an investor who revealed the information to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Reid charged that Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, couldn’t make it through a Senate confirmation process as a Cabinet nominee

Reid said a person who had invested with Bain Capital called his office and told him that Romney didn’t pay any taxes for 10 years while making millions and millions of dollars.

Romney has not released his full tax records from 2010, including key documentation connected to his Swiss bank account, even though his father, George Romney, set the standard for financial disclosure by turning over 12 years of tax returns when he ran for president in the late 1960s.

Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland said that he could conjecture as to whether Romney “is a tax avoider” or “cheat” because “his behavior invites such speculation.”

Romney press secretary Andrea Saul dismissed the possibility that Romney paid no taxes in one year or another after Businessweek’s Josh Green suggested that, “it’s possible [Romney] suffered a large enough capital loss that, carried forward and coupled with his various offshore tax havens, he wound up paying no U.S. federal taxes at all in 2009.”

Many observers have asserted there must be something truly damaging in Romney’s pre-2010 tax returns for him to endure the criticism and scrutiny that has accompanied his refusal to release them, even as the issue, and the matter of his departure date from Bain Capital, has engulfed the campaign.

“The cost of not releasing the returns are clear,” said conservative columnist George Will. “Therefore, he must have calculated that there are higher costs in releasing them.”

As a member of the ultra-rich with an estimated net worth of $270 million, Romney in 2010 paid less than 14 percent, a factor far below the US’ top marginal tax rate of 35 percent.

A recent IRS report showed that 20,752 households that reported earning more than $200,000 in 2009 paid no federal income taxes. About 1,500 of those tax-free Americans were millionaires.

In 2010, Barack Obama paid nearly half a million dollars – $453,770 – from total income of $1,795,614, for an effective tax rate of 25 percent.

Under Obama’s plan, the top one percent of income earners would see their taxes go up about five percent while a proposal supported by Romney would cut taxes on the wealthiest Americans by nearly eight percent, according to an analysis by the Tax Policy Center.

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