By Romney’s Own Standard, His Tax Returns Would Disqualify Him From The Presidency

Mitt Romney will disclose his 2011 tax on Friday, along with a summary going back 20 years. The campaign has published the following summary:

In 2011, the Romneys paid $1,935,708 in taxes on $13,696,951 in mostly investment income.

The Romneys’ effective tax rate for 2011 was 14.1%.

The Romneys donated $4,020,772 to charity in 2011, amounting to nearly 30% of their income.

The Romneys claimed a deduction for $2.25 million of those charitable contributions.

The Romneys’ generous charitable donations in 2011 would have significantly reduced their tax obligation for the year.

The Romneys thus limited their deduction of charitable contributions to conform to the Governor’s statement in August, based upon the January estimate of income, that he paid at least 13% in income taxes in each of the last 10 years.

Romney has previously defended his low tax rate — which, at 14.1% is significantly less than many middle class families pay — by saying he is simply being pragmatic in meeting his legal requirements:

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.

If Romney had taken all of the deductions available to him under the tax code, he would have paid closer to a 9 percent tax rate in 2011. In attempting to match up his tax rate with his prior statement, Romney is paying more in taxes — and by his very own standard — disqualifying himself from the presidency. It’s worth noting that under Romney’s tax plan, he would cut his own rates even further, and would have paid little to no taxes under Paul Ryan’s 2010 budget, which would have eliminated the capital gains tax.


The New York Times notes: “It is possible, however, that Mr. Rommey could still deduct the unclaimed amount of his charitable donations in future tax years, experts said.”

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