Mitt Romney Is One Glorious Tax Faker

  no it was good for me really

let meg ryan ruin yet another lunch

If I’m Ann Romney (AND I AM), I worry about Mitt’s latest tax return, because he just faked a higher tax rate than he should have actually paid … and it’s still ridiculously low.

Mitt Romney’s 14.1 percent effective federal tax rate in 2011 would’ve been lower if he’d deducted all of his charitable contributions from his nearly $13.7 million in income. But after estimating that he paid at least 13 percent of his income in taxes in each of the last 10 years, Romney opted not to deduct nearly $1.8 million worth of charitable contributions last year to artificially lift his tax liability.

So what would Romney’s effective tax rate have been if he’d deducted all of his charitable donations? About 12.2 percent.

You climb into bed with a multimillionaire who won’t show you his tax returns, you’d hope he could be honest at least the one time he spreads his 1040s open for you.

Here’s the math we used, validated by tax experts at the liberal Center for American Progress.

According to the campaign, Romney earned $13,696,951 in 2011, of which he paid $1,935,708 in taxes.

But those figures include $1,770,772 in charitable contributions that he couldhave deducted, but chose not to. Since the campaign acknowledges that nearly all of Romney’s income came from investments, we assume he paid a 15 percent rate on that $1,770,772 — or $265,615.80 in taxes that he didn’t have to pay.

If you subtract that figure from his total taxes, you’re left with $1,670,092.20 — the amount of tax he would have paid if he’d deducted all of his charitable contributions.

And that’s 12.2 percent of his overall income.

When Mitt’s accountant comes up from between Mitt’s filings, exhausted, hands and mouth tired, and asks, “Was that good for you?” Mitt simply replies, “Yeah, great,” and then checks his phone to see if anyone texted. Because he’s just like that.

If you have to refuse to deduct $1.7 million in charitable donations just to raise your tax rate to the same really low rate you paid the prior year, maybe it is time to just give it up and embrace the fact that you don’t pay a high tax rate. I mean, it’s okay. It’s not about the size of your tax rate, it’s about how you use the taxes you paid.

(Just kidding, it’s totally about how big your tax rate is, and we would love it if Warren Buffet’s secretary could call us. <3 <3 <3)

[Talking Points Memo]

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173 comments

    1. qwerty42

      Well, it can be, but as someone (Yglesias?) was saying the other day, this isn't Calculus, differential equations, number theory or real analysis. It's arithmetic (as I believe someone said a few weeks ago). It's not Fermat's Last Theorem. OK, some accounting techniques get into polynomials, but still …

      1. C_R_Eature

        Oh, I'll bet that he buys the Good Stuff, just to display it prominently, making all the visiting lawyers drool and – more importantly – Because He Can.

          1. C_R_Eature

            Well, at 11 grand I'll never as much as sniff the stopper, friend. I do like the peaty Highland runs, like Ardbeg and Macallan. It's a total Fall/Winter draft, though. Hot weather is no time for Scotch.

          2. C_R_Eature

            I am Humbled, friend. However, I'd just as soon have that chunk donated to one of the many charities that don't have bloated managerial overheads that support Republican trophy wives. You know what I mean.
            I'm a simple Creature, with simple needs.

          3. glasspusher

            There's plenty more joke potential to mine from this meme- how about:Much like a squid, the writer sought to escape his vulnerabilities behind an excess of ink…

  1. Slim_Pickins

    A tax return is probably even easier to fake than a birth certificate, just put some numbers into Turbo Tax and voila!

    1. Comrade Snowball

      You have to pay extra for the Turbo Tax version that can handle off-shore tax shelters and such. But Turbo Tax is deductible too so he likes it.

  2. Callyson

    But after realizing he was going to get enough flak for not releasing his tax returns from the last 10 years, Romney opted not to deduct nearly $1.8 million worth of charitable contributions last year to artificially lift his tax liability.

    /also, too

    1. ph7

      You know its kills him to do that, too. I mean, other than the fact he's running for President, can you imagine Mitten's giving up a tax deduction? That's almost as bad as bringing a black person to dinner at the country club.

    2. shelwood46

      Heh, he had Price Waterhouse release a "summary" of his taxes for the last 20 years, which everyone seems to agree is total fiction. Oh, and he has three years to amend his 2011 taxes and pay that lower rate, so he can opt to take those deductions retroactively like he likes to.

    3. sullivanst

      So, anyone remember back in January when Mitt said that anyone who artificially lifted their tax liability wouldn't be qualified to be President?

      Yeah, he was hoping you wouldn't.

  3. Toomush_Infer

    So, are those carry-over deductions? I mean, when he doesn't have to show his taxes next year, can he go back and take the deduction? 'Cause, otherwise, I'm firing my accountant, no matter what. I like to do that….

    1. bobbert

      What, you like to fire accountants that provide services to you?

      And yes, he'll file an amended return and take the deductions he let slide.

      Apparently, he thinks he's soliciting the votes of people who have never filed a tax return.

  4. SexySmurf

    Mitt Romney says that if he paid more taxes than were required, he wouldn't be qualified to be president.

    It's official: absolutely no one thinks Mitt is qualified to be President.

    1. reliefsinn

      It's only the poorz and middle class who should not take their legal tax deductions, because, well, socializms?

      1. bikerlaureate

        Yup. But if corporations do it, they're just being sensible and responsible.

        Can't wait for this robotic turd to go away…

    1. littlebigdaddy

      Yeah, I had to file for an extension this year. It is actually a pretty sweet deal. All you do is file the extension by April 15, and then pay a fairly small interest rate per month. Good to know if you are faced with a huge fucking IRS bill. (It also gives you time to get on your accountant's ass on stuff like the deductibility of college expenses–they are no longer only deductible for full-time students, hallelujah). Also if you are sick, travelling out of country, or just too fucking stressed out to get er done in April.

  5. memzilla

    "Artifically inflated" pretty much describes anything the Rethuglicans do.

    Try it out for yourself! Simply fill in the blank in the sentence below with any of the words from the list below:

    "Today Mitt rMoney said, in a statement reflecting artificially inflated _____ …"

    Concern for the 47%
    Concern for the 99%
    Ethical behavior
    Intelligence
    Piousness
    Honesty
    Facts

        1. MittBorg

          Up until the 1960s, at least, it wasn't that uncommon to starve. These days, there is a social safety net to ensure that no child goes to school on an empty stomach, and no one is homeless.

    1. bikerlaureate

      This should become an attack ad.

      If he really believed that trickle-down was going to be finally vindicated – in this, its fourth decade of prominence – he would be proud and defiant about how little he paid in taxes. For the good of the poorz, natch.

  6. AlterNewt

    All of this begs the question:

    Why would this aristocrat want to lower himself and be merely the President of the United States? Or as Gore Vidal referred to the job: 'Towel Boy".

    1. HistoriCat

      Like many people working today, Mitt thinks the salary for this position is pathetic but the benefits are quite attractive.

    2. C_R_Eature

      One speculation goes – true, I swear, I heard it on one of the responsible political analysis shows – is that Mitt never really cared for the Office of the Presidency. He only wants to be The President to fulfill a personal checkbox goal and as a line on his Curriculum vitae that will give him gravitas and let him make some serious money when he retires. Plus, Free Benefits and SS protection for life! He's already got a cadre' of people who bow and open doors for him so he's probably not in it for the pageantry.

      This is the theory I'm starting to believe in, with the release of the Boca Tape last week. The fact that it's become evident that he truly believes that one half of the American population are meaningless as insects under his feet and the fact that he hasn't been able to fully articulate the reason he wants to be President in 10 years of trying clinches it for me.

      There's also a Conspiracy Theory involving the Mormon Church, White Horses and placing a Bishop into the Presidency for unnamed nefarious reasons but I don't buy into it. I think that Mitt's such a self-driven sociopath it's likely he's used the Church for his own ends – to get wealthy and powerful – much more than the Church has used him.

      My own analysis. Feel free to pick at it.

      1. AlterNewt

        It was mostly a facetious question, but of course we know (don't we?) that regardless of their transparent contempt for the masses, these sociopaths most likely BELIEVE that they know what is best, and therefore deserve to rule.

      2. tessiee

        "There's also a Conspiracy Theory involving the Mormon Church, White Horses and placing a Bishop into the Presidency for unnamed nefarious reasons"

        yeah, good luck with that if they ever find out how much Mitt really made and figure out how much he screwed them on the whole tithing thing.

      3. Spurning Beer

        I discovered hiding in plain sight in Wikipedia last night the germ of another Mormonic conspiracy theory:

        In 1844, Joseph Smith rejected the platforms of the major candidates for President of the United States and decided to conduct his own third-party campaign for the Presidency—an effort which was cut short by his death on June 27 of that year.

      4. bobbert

        As I've said before, I'm going with the White Horse Prophecy. It would be very easy for Money Badger to think that now is the time, and that he, obviously, is the Chosen One. This kinda shit gets installed at an early age, and even if you sort of grow out of it, it still resonates.

        To be clear, under the White Horse Prophecy, it's Mitt's job to take control of the United States to save it (from whatever), and probably to establish a Mormon theocracy (this isn't completely clear). The odd thing is, it's not really explicit what Mitt is saving America from, nor what he is supposed to do after saving it.

        So, kind of like the Ryan budget.

  7. Maman

    What happened to the idea that if Mittens paid more taxes than he was required to then he should be disqualified to run for POTUS? That was Mittens own idea.

    1. SayItWithWookies

      This is why Mitt's campaign released the tax return summaries (not the actual returns, mind you) at all. Someone realized that that statement was the only one Romney hasn't walked back during his campaign, so they figured for consistency's sake to make it happen.

  8. justkillmenow

    Let's go full conspiracy theory. Did he not deduct the charitable contributions so he wouldn't have to show how much he gave and to whom/what?

  9. zippy_w_pinhead

    Just how much of a disaster does your campaign have to be to voluntarily release the return? besides, we all know he's just going to amend that filing on Nov 7th and reclaim those deductions, putting his effective rate back to 9%

    1. kittensdontlie

      His accountants have no doubt retroactively amended the last ten years to remove all of those zero percents.

  10. edgydrifter

    And we're supposed to believe a guy who overpays his taxes by $250K is good with money? What does he do at McDonalds–throw a wad of random bills at the cashier and say "yeah, take whatever" because they all look the same to him and he can't be bothered with details?

    1. tessiee

      More like, throws a handful of change at the guy behind the counter and says, "This is enough for you people".

  11. VeraSevera

    So…Wonkette research interns…is the 10% for Angel Moroni in there or not? I tried to figure it out but there are too many zeros.

  12. pinkocommi

    Now that Romney has paid a higher tax rate than he should have, I fully expect him to fire someone. Because the opposite of a job creator is a job destroyer. Plus, he likes firing people so much.

    1. Spurning Beer

      Eh, I think it's a calculated expense. Like a corporation that figures it's worth paying a fine and doing what it wants, rather than observe the law. In fact, wasn't there an anecdote about Mitt doing exactly that?

  13. SmutBoffin

    Mitt's campaign manager: "This disclosure should finally get those pesky journos to stop going on about Mitt's taxes. There's nothing to analyze and discuss here! No sir!"

  14. Badonkadonkette

    < snark off >I'm sure everyone on the right will just cream over Romney's enormous charitable donations, but isn't it like 300% higher than it was in previous years? And didn't he already have to give 10% of his income to charity (the Mormon Church) every year anyway?

    In other words, doesn't it sure as shit look like Mitt Romney could afford to give away half his income every year, but usually only gives exactly what he's required to and not one penny more, except once, in 2011, and not because he's charitable, but because he thinks that it will endear him to "you people"?< /snark off >

  15. pinkocommi

    I'm sure Romney will file an amended return to take all those charitable deductions once he loses the election. Like, the very next day.

  16. weejee

    Can we take as a given the fact that Mittonez is a poorz and is only worth about a quarter billion, instead of his rightful billionaire status. If Willard were to lose one of his infamous $10K bets each and every day, it would take over 68 years for him to hit zero. Just sayin'.

  17. mille derps

    “I don't think you want someone as the candidate for president who pays more taxes than he owes." –Mitt Romney, Flipflopper

  18. Nostrildamus

    Don't worry about Mitt, guys. He can just refile 2011 next year and claim the missing deductions.

    But really, thanks for your concern.

  19. ibwilliamsi

    I wonder how long they had to massage those numbers until they came in above the "I never paid less than 14%" figure.

  20. LibertyLover

    Speaking of faked tax returns, any accounting of the money in the Caymans or in Switzerland? No?

    It's even more fake than I thought.

  21. Indiepalin

    Mitt donated $1,115,484 to the Mormon Church, had total itemized deductions of $4,681,842 and, just to show he is a regular guy, was assessed $674,512 in alternative minimum tax (which he has pledged to do away with).

    1. bobbert

      Wait. If he donated $1,115,484 to the LDS, then his gross income should be ten times that, or $11,154,840. His net worth is known to be well north of $250M. He's claiming that he made less than 4.4% on $250M?

      It is to fucking laugh.

  22. Indiepalin

    By the way, the day after the election, what is to stop Romney from filing an amended return (1040X) and recouping all those deductions he convinced the guys at Price Waterhouse to forego?

    1. James Michael Curley

      Last night Rachel Maddow made a comparison to, I think, the difference between what Rpmney paid in taxes in 2010 and what he would have paid if his tax plan is enacted and declared it would buy him food stamps until 4870.

  23. littlebigdaddy

    He released some statement about his effective tax rate over the past decade. Maybe I believe it, maybe not. But the fact that he won't release the returns themselves points not only to financial shenanigans (presumably nothing illegal, cuz I am pretty sure the IRS has had another lookieloo at these), but also to the fact that his tax home in 2010 was California, but he voted in Massachusetts. VOTER FRAUD! Oh, but he's not a blah (except when he goes on Univision) so it can't be that!

  24. Lionel[redacted]Esq

    FACT CHECK: Romney's money in Switzerland and the Caribbean have filed objections with the Red Cross over their brothers in the US being sacrificed for Mitt's political career.

    Source: Forbes

    1. Beowoof

      Just for the record, fuck Steve Forbes. Another asshole born to great wealth and thinks he is more entitled than anyone else. Tom Hartman refers to this as the lucky sperm club.

      1. Chichikovovich

        I think that's a bit unfair to the sperm cell. It worked damned hard in a fiercely competitive environment to get where it got. It was just all the post-fertilization stages of Forbes that were lucky slackers.

  25. Douché

    He just gave you a 'Dirty Romney' that's where he wipes his tax return on your curtain, after banging you up the ass. Shhh, he won't tell if you don't.

  26. ffredpalakon

    So, I guess the bombshell is that he didn't pay the ridiculously low return of 0%, but the ridiculously low return of 14%. Wow. Great twist, M. Romney Shyamalan.

    1. weejee

      Looks like someone disabled the smoke detector in the john and fired-up a monster bong. Part of the new 'Bong Hits for Rmoney" new direction the Campaign is trying.

      1. Beowoof

        That may have been needed after considering the possibility that Mitt may actually win. Thus, I would think a desperation exception to the smoking in the John rule would be in order.

  27. johnnyzhivago

    The 20 year thing is total BS – it is an average of 20 years returns PERCENTAGES which could include low tax on big incomes and big tax rates on small incomes (like during Clinton era).

    What a scam.

    1. bikerlaureate

      It's the regulatory uncertainty, according to centerfold Brown.
      Otherwise these tax savings just couldn't be stopped from creating jobs all over the place!

    2. tessiee

      I dare say he kept a few accountants working night and day cooking the books on those fake-ass tax returns.

  28. TootsStansbury

    Gods, what a cynical. condescending asshole this guy is. It is absolutely mind boggling. Who would vote for someone like this?

  29. iburl

    From Maddowblog:
    "In January, Romney insisted, "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."

    By this standard, Romney has now effectively disqualified himself."

  30. Beowoof

    You do realize that, that simple omission can be corrected anytime over the next three years by simply filing an amended tax return. The IRS will return the over payment with interest. Anyone want to bet that Amended return is on his accountants computer waiting to be filed on November 7?

  31. DemonicRage

    Before he approved Ryan as VP Candidate, he asked Ryan to submit 10 years of tax returns. Yet he gives the American people one solid year of his returns, plus one that can be refiled and amended next year, should he lose the election. See any disparity there?

  32. Chichikovovich

    So Mitt – may I call you Mitt? Ah, OK – Governor Romney, you're a businessman, and it would be good to get a businessman's perspective on this. Say that you are looking at an executive for a crucial job in your organization. And for jobs of this type a certain kind of dossier of information is customarily expected. Every other candidate, dating back several decades, has provided it uncomplainingly. But this candidate refuses to provide you with it. And after you ask repeatedly, and his candidacy starts floundering on other issues, he produces a bunch of letters from an accountant he retained, describing some particular details, and many broad features of what would be in the dossier. If he were to let you see it.

    Would you want to hire this candidate?

    1. glasspusher

      Of course! If they weren't, an accountant's pen will shut down automatically, thus preventing any misfiling.

  33. LibrarianX

    How does a church qualify as a charitable donation? What do they have to do to be disqualified? Does it ever happen? Seems to me that when a "church" wants to play politics, they need to pay taxes. And yes, I'm looking at you, Mormon Church.

  34. owhatever

    Salary and wages: ZERO. All of his millions came from investments, schemes and offshore money-laundering.

    I pay a higher percentage of my income in taxes than this multi-millionaire, but remain part of the lazy moocher class. So who is getting subsidized by the gummint, and who is getting screwed?

    That's what makes America great.

  35. ttommyunger

    This is working out well for Mittens: everyone seems to be hyperventilating over his Taxes, completely overlooking the fact that he is a total dick.

  36. bobbert

    I'm posting this comment before reading the thread, and I'm way late anyhow, but 14.1%?

    The ridiculously shit-headed** tax rate on "capital gains" is 15%. There isn't a lower tax rate, except for zero on some municipal bonds. The tax law is full of goodies. I'm sure his numbers are accurate. I would ask, since his tax rate was 14.1% during 2011, and since that is far lower than the tax rate of most middle-income taxpayers: how many jobs did he create in 2011?

    ** I can go on at great length about the stupidity of the "capital gains" rates in the US tax law, but I would be repeating myself.

  37. zappadoo76

    So remember, Mittens, whenever you point the finger at someone, there are three fingers and a thumb pointing back at you.

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