Saturday, September 22, 2012

9 Things to Know About Mitt Romney's Tax Returns


The Romney campaign released what it says are the effective tax rates Romney paid for the past two decades. His effective tax rate was calculated based on his Adjusted Gross Income. That's standard, but in Romney's case, it doesn't tell the whole story. The Romney campaign is reporting the percentage of Romney's AGI that he paid to the government, explains Brian Galle, an associate professor at Boston College Law School who is an expert on individual and corporate income tax. AGI is the number you get after you take certain, limited deductions. The most relevant of these deductions for Romney are losses from the sale or exchange of property. That could include stock or partnership interests in Bain Capital and associated companies that were sold at a loss. The Romney campaign is disclosing the percentage of tax he paid "on the amount he got after he subtracted out all those losses," which could have been very substantial, Galle says—perhaps even enough to almost eliminate Romney's tax liability. That means that although Romney paid at least something in previous years, it could have been a very small amount. "He could have been paying 13.66 percent of $100 in 2009. He might have paid $13.66," Galle continues. We won't know unless the Romney campaign releases more information.

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