A Cheat (no pun intended) Sheet on Romney’s Tax Returns

Mitt Romney at the South Carolina debate

Mitt Romney has finally released his tax returns, after being nearly universally criticized for not doing so already. Interestingly enough, Mitt’s father George Romney was a pioneer in the field of financial transparency, releasing 12 years of tax returns when he ran for president in 1968. Well, in an “unlike father, unlike son” moment, Romney has limited his tax releases to one year’s worth.

Think Progress points out the 6 most important and disturbing facts revealed by the tax returns (besides the fact that Mitt made $21.7 million in 2010 and $20.9 million in 2011 or, as Mitt would probably call it, “not very much”). Let’s have a looksie!

1. Romney paid a lower tax rate than many middle-class Americans: Romney’s returns reveal that he paid an effective tax rate of 13.9 percent, lower even than the low rate of 15 percent he estimated he paid last week. While this is far less than what many middle-class Americans pay, it’s also well below what wealthy people pay. The average effective tax rate for someone in Romney’s income bracket is25 percent.

2. Romney makes more in a day than the average American makes in a year, and becomes a 1 percenter every week: As Bloomberg News notes, “In 2008, according to the IRS, the median adjusted gross income was $33,048, which Romney made in less than a day. Reaching the top 1 percent of taxpayers required $380,354 in adjusted gross income, about Romney’s earnings in a week.”

3. Romney paid almost nothing in payroll taxes: Romney contributed just .1 percent of his income to Social Security and Medicare in 2010 via the payroll tax because the tax is only assessed on earned wages, but all of Romney’s income came from investments. Most working Americans pay 7.65 percent.

Check out Think Progress for the rest.

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Born and raised on the mean streets of New York City’s Upper West Side, Katie Halper is a comic, writer, blogger, satirist and filmmaker based in New York. Katie graduated from The Dalton School (where she teaches history) and Wesleyan University (where she learned that labels are for jars.) A director of Living Liberally and co-founder/performer in Laughing Liberally, Katie has performed at Town Hall, Symphony Space, The Culture Project, D.C. Comedy Festival, all five Netroots Nations, and The Nation Magazine Cruise, where she made Howard Dean laugh! and has appeared with Lizz Winstead, Markos Moulitsas, The Yes Men, Cynthia Nixon and Jim Hightower. Her writing and videos have appeared in The New York Times, Comedy Central, The Nation Magazine, Gawker, Nerve, Jezebel, the Huffington Post, Alternet and Katie has been featured in/on NY Magazine, LA Times, In These Times, Gawker,Jezebel, MSNBC, Air America, GritTV, the Alan Colmes Show, Sirius radio (which hung up on her once) and the National Review, which called Katie “cute and some what brainy.” Katie co-produced Tim Robbins’s film Embedded, (Venice Film Festival, Sundance Channel); Estela Bravo’s Free to Fly (Havana Film Festival, LA Latino Film Festival); was outreach director for The Take, Naomi Klein/Avi Lewis documentary about Argentine workers (Toronto & Venice Film Festivals, Film Forum); co-directed New Yorkers Remember the Spanish Civil War, a video for Museum of the City of NY exhibit, and wrote/directed viral satiric videos including Jews/ Women/ Gays for McCain.

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  • http://feministing.com/members/decius/ Dan

    According to the article, it looks like he hits the maximum individual social security tax points. Nobody pays more into social security, as an absolute amount, than he does.

    The hard part is putting that in context, in comparing
    $21,700,000 with the more common values:
    $87,000 ~the 30% mark
    $350,000 ~ the 1% mark

    Also, as a correction: The source linked shows an average tax rate of 22% for people making over $10m; the 25% is the average for all people over $1m. The national average is 11%.

  • http://feministing.com/members/robbieloveslife/ Robert

    I’m not a Romney supporter but this tax issue is nothing new. It happens with people on the left and right. If you are going to criticize a candidate for taking advantage of the tax system then you should criticize all of them. I have no problems with successful people. I have come across many in my travels and most are cool to talk to. In one of the linked articles it says Romney paid what is required. In other words he didn’t do anything illegal. How many of you would pay more than what’s required? I know I wouldn’t and neither would most Americans regardless of political views.