Mitt Romney Releases More Personal Tax Information

Mitt Romney to release 2011 tax return
Mitt Romney to release 2011 tax return

More information is coming out about Mitt Romney's finances: The Republican candidate for president released his 2011 tax return Friday afternoon.

According to Reuters, the Romney campaign says the candidate and his wife paid $1.936 million in taxes in 2011 on $13.697 million in income, for an effective tax rate of 14.1 percent.

"That's slightly above the 13.9 percent rate the couple paid in 2010," the Associated Press notes. That year, Romney paid about $3 million in federal income taxes. But the amount Romney paid in 2011 was significantly less than the estimate made by his campaign in January: approximately $3.2 million.

Most of Romney's income came from investments; his effective tax rate was relatively low because capital gains are taxed less heavily than ordinary income. By comparison, President Barack Obama paid an effective tax rate of 20.5 percent in 2011.

Although the former Massachusetts governor continues to refuse to release multiple years of tax returns, The New York Times reports that Romney's lawyer "said on the campaign's Web site that the candidate would release a letter later Friday from his tax advisers providing a summary of his tax liability for a 20-year period from 1990 to 2009."

Over that 20 year period, Romney paid an average annual effective federal tax rate of 20.2 percent, the campaign said. The lowest annual effective federal personal tax rate paid by Romney during those 20 years was 13.66 percent -- a revelation presumably intended to counter speculation that Romney might have at some point paid a rate close to zero.

The campaign also said that the Romneys gave a little over $4 million to charity in 2011, but claimed a deduction of only $2.25 million of those contributions. As a memo from Brad Malt, trustee of the couple's blind trust, explains:

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.

The Wall Street Journal has the full text of Malt's memo.