During an interview with Univision, Romney was pressed on whether it was fair for him to pay about 13 percent of his income in taxes — as he did in 2010, according to his recently released tax returns — when many middle class families pay far more. Romney proceeded to claim that his actual rate is “closer to 45 or 50 percent.”
To justify his figure, Romney relied on his belief that “corporations are people.” When Univision’s Jorge Ramos asked Romney if his 13 percent tax rate is “fair,” Romney suggested adding the maximum corporate tax rate (35 percent) to his personal taxes to calculate his real rate:
RAMOS: You just released your tax returns. In 2010 you only paid 13 percent of taxes while most Americans paid much more than that. Is that fair?
ROMNEY: Well, actually, I released two years of taxes and I think the average is almost 15 percent. And then also, on top of that, I gave another more 15 percent to charity. When you add it together with all of the taxes and the charity, particularly in the last year, I think it reaches almost 40 percent that I gave back to the community. One of the reasons why we have a lower tax rate on capital gains is because capital gains are also being taxed at the corporate level. So as businesses earn profits, that’s taxed at 35 percent, then as they distribute those profits as dividends, that’s taxed at 15 percent more. So, all total, the tax rate is really closer to 45 or 50 percent.
RAMOS: But is it fair what you pay, 13 percent, while most pay much more than that?
ROMNEY: Well, again, I go back to the point that the, that the funds are being taxed twice at two different levels.
Romney glosses over the fact that he is not a corporation and doesn’t pay corporate taxes. Additionally, most corporations pay far lower than a 35 percent rate. In fact, many profitable corporations pay nothing at all.
In the alternative, Romney suggested that his tax rate should be considered “almost 40 percent” because he gave a substantial amount of money to charity, mostly to the Mormon church. Romney should be lauded for his charitable contributions — and received a tax deduction for them — but charitable contributions are not taxes.