By Jack Gillum and Kasie Hunt, Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney paid about $3 million in federal income taxes in 2010, having earned more than seven times that from his investments. Those earnings, $21.7 million, put him among the wealthiest of American taxpayers.

At the same time, Romney gave nearly $3 million to charity — about half of that amount to the Mormon Church — which helped lower his effective tax rate to a modest 14 percent, according to records his campaign released early Tuesday.

For 2011, he’ll pay about $3.2 million with an effective tax rate of about 15.4 percent, the campaign said. Those returns haven’t yet been filed yet with the Internal Revenue Service.

The former Massachusetts governor had been under pressure in recent weeks to release his tax returns, his GOP opponents casting him as a wealthy businessman who slashed jobs in the private sector. Rival Newt Gingrich made public his returns on Saturday, showing he paid almost $1 million in income taxes — a tax rate of about 31 percent.

Romney’s campaign confirmed the details of his tax information after several news organizations saw a preview of the documents. He had said he planned to release his returns in full Tuesday morning, and campaign officials would be prepared to discuss them in detail with reporters.

“You’ll see my income, how much taxes I’ve paid, how much I’ve paid to charity,” Romney said during Monday night’s debate in Tampa. “I pay all the taxes that are legally required and not a dollar more. I don’t think you want someone as the candidate for president who pays more taxes than he owes.”

Romney’s 2010 returns show the candidate is among the top 1 percent of taxpayers. The returns showed about $4.5 million in itemized deductions, including $1.5 million to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Before the tax records were released, Romney’s old investments in two government-backed housing lenders stirred up new questions at the same time his campaign targeted Gingrich for his work for Freddie Mac.

Gingrich earned $1.6 million in consulting fees from Freddie Mac. Romney has as much as $500,000 invested in the U.S.-backed lender and its sister entity, Fannie Mae.

The fight over releasing the tax information highlighted an argument that Democrats are already starting to use against Romney — that he is out-of-touch with normal Americans. And it probably hurt him in the South Carolina primary, where he lost by 12 percentage points to Gingrich after spending several days resisting releasing the returns.

On Monday, Romney would not answer questions from debate moderator Brian Williams about just what pieces of his tax returns could cause political headaches. But they will shine the spotlight on a fortune estimated at between $190 million and $250 million, and could raise questions about where he keeps his money and how he earns it.

For example, Romney keeps some of his personal fortune in investments that are domiciled in the Cayman Islands, where many international investors shelter their income from American taxes. Romney aides say he doesn’t use the funds to avoid or put off paying the appropriate taxes.

The returns could also reveal more details about his annual take as founder of the Bain Capital private equity firm.

But it’s clear that Romney’s campaign is bracing for an onslaught of criticism of his personal fortune. His wife, Ann, has started talking about the returns during campaign appearances. She told supporters at a Florida rally Sunday: “I want to remind you where we know our riches are. Our riches are with our families.”

Most of Romney’s vast fortune is held in a blind trust that he doesn’t control. A portion is held in a retirement account.

Gillum reported from Washington.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

Comments (18)
  1. fred says:

    I don’t know why he just didn’t release this info earlier – unless he was afraid of an evangelical backlash for his donations to the Mormon church. He pays more in taxes in one year than most people will earn as income in thirty years.Much of his earnings will be reinvested and he will pay taxes on those gains if they occur. I don’t see an issue with success.

    1. Shtraberry says:

      Define surge ie newt may lose by less than 10%. It would be an anomadaly to be sure as once the Rep party hieradaradchy anoints their savadior, mitadtens, that canaddiaddate has alwyas won the Rep nomination.but, but, but mitadtens may buck the trend er recent hisadtory as he is quite capaadblea0lol.>The quesadtion is ~ Would the rank and file, hard core conadseradvadaadtives rather lose w/​a true conadseradvadaadtive or have a chance of winadning w/​a flip/​flopping, modaderadate to libaderal RINO who has noa0core.Quite the conadseradvadaadtive conunaddrum, but winadning trumps every variadablea0IMO.>And it is interadestading the Rep party is on their way to nomadiadnatading (2) modaderadate RINO’s the last two presadiaddenadtial elecadtions. Three if you include comadpasadsionadate conadseradvadaadtive Bush43.

  2. Bruce says:

    The Tax Foundation website is the best place to see how Romney’s taxes and the rate he pays, stacks up against the Average Wage Earner, and the others who like Romney are in the top 5%. There is a simple chart there that is so simple, even the feeble minded can figure it out. According to the Tax Foundation, the Average American Wage Earner paid about 11.06% in Federal Income Taxes in 2009, which is the last year the IRS statistical data records are available for, and those in the top 1-5% paid 16.40%, the bottom 50% of wage earners paid only 1.85% in Federal Income Taxes. Now the question is, where is WBZ TV coming up with the statement that they begin the news hours with that Romney paid 1/2 the Fed Tax % of the Average Wage earner?

    1. massman says:

      The conservative right wing Tax Foundation states this? Shocking. The Tax Foundation is not a reliable source.

      1. bruce says:

        Baloney, those statistics are taken directly from the IRS compilation of Tax Returns. Not a reliable source?. I prepared taxes for 34 years ! what are your qualifications that can dispute the actual statistics from the IRS ? Those are facts, and you can only dispute them with words, not backed up by any facts or detail. Go to the Website and look at the chart. What is there about that detail that you do not understand. 50% or wage earners, pay almost nothing in Federal Income tax. In fact a big % of them do pay nothing. The average wage earner pays slightly more then 11%. What do your statistics say, and where are you getting them from ?

    2. fred says:

      They can’t compare earnings from investments to wage earnings because they are taxed at a different rate so either it is shoddy reporting or WBZ has an agenda. The percentage that Romney pays is his actual percent paid. WBZ seems to be using the % for the average persons income before deductions so it will show that Romney pays a lower actual percent which is incorrect.

  3. andyme says:

    No matter what the totals are criticism will come Romney’s way because of strictly envy. Romney paid about $3M in tax and donated $3M to charities of his choice for a total of $6M out of $21M or 28.5% of primarily capital gain income. The capital base is an number that he has all ready paid an income tax on. Next thing will be a movement to pass a law that takes our right away to donate to whom we choose. Do the 51% of Americans who pay no fed taxes at all have a right to criticize? Wake up America, walking around with envy is counter-productive.

  4. Tyler L says:

    Just listen to the news anchor on Channel 4. They are so bias! Who here pays more taxes than Mitt?

  5. Bruce says:

    Obama is going to bring in the Buffet Factor tonight and have Buffet’s Secretary sitting up there next to Mrs. Obama. Supposedly Buffet’s Secretary pays 28% !! Which is nuts since that means she must be in the top 1% of American Wage earners ! which is hardly possible. The question is, how did they come up with the 28% federal income tax ? I suspect that they are playing fast and lose with her actual tax status here, probably calculating her Tax % compared to her adjusted Gross income rather then her Gross Income. Or they are calculating her 28% based on all of the taxes she pays including Federal, State, Real Property and Sales Tax. In any event this looks like another blatant example of distorting the truth and playing fast and loose with the truth, in order to make political hay, and help promote Obama’s reelection bid based on Class Warfare and Class envy.

  6. Lowell Peabody says:

    The tax issue with Mitt is horribly reported within the media. Let’s remember that Mitt made his money and was taxed on the earned income. Now he is paying taxes on dividend income. The man has paid his taxes on all earned income and invested income. Why can’t WBZ report the facts? Why is it WBZ propogates misinformation and hightens controversy when there is NO substance!!?? WBZ and all media pundits should be ashamed of their reporting!

  7. Lowell Peabody says:

    …AND I don’t even like Mitt as a candidate!! Your coverage is totally unfair!

    1. Ismail says:

      That the post-​​​​debate polls all show tightadenading, albeit to varyading deeergs, sugadgests that the Ginadgrich Surge might bea0real.Repubadliadcans seem to like their politadiadcal suiadcide bomber.Newt has an aweadsome taladent at sayading the most ridicuadlous and insanely false things, with such regal conadvicadtion that one expects angels to sing in haradmony behind his lies. It’s fasadciadnatading toa0watch.

  8. Lowell Peabody says:

    WBZ owes an apology to Mitt for promoting his “15%” tax rate versus higher tax rates applied to other citizens. Mitt paid ordinary income tax on the money he earned and THEN invested. He is now paying taxes on the earned income from investments at 15%.. Great news coverage WBZ, you simply play to a distorted view and make hysteria the greater part of reporting rather than the facts.

  9. Lowell Peabody says:

    See earlier comments. I am not a fan of Mitt but your coverage, and the media coverage in general is way off base. You are not reporting facts.

  10. Clint Reiser says:

    Did you guys watch tonight’s evening news> Jack Williams claimed that Mitt Romney paid a lower tax rate than, I believe 80% of the population. I dont think this can be true for 2010 with all of hte tax breaks that were in effect. I’m wondering if this station is vetting its statements before they broadcast. Can anyone point me to a source with effective tax rates for 2010?

  11. web says:

    Most of us want to pay minimal taxes, and if it’s done legally, great! I’m always looking for deductions, etc., when I do my taxes…I’m certainly not sitting there saying ‘where can I pay more”? The whole tax system is a mess anyway, they need to scrap the whole system.

  12. Dave_D says:

    Not bad for a son of a Mexican immigrant. What a country!

  13. web says:

    Obama used the last part of Lincoln’s quote in his speech yesterday…#4 is relevant here.

    You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
    You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
    You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
    You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down.
    You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
    You cannot build character and courage by taking away men’s initiative and independence.
    You cannot help men permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves

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