For most of the year we've heard calls for Mitt Romney to release his tax returns going all the way back to the dawn of time. Romney's campaign still isn't quite giving those folks what they want (as I'm sure they will shortly let us know), but this afternoon, the GOP presidential candidate will release his complete 2011 tax returns along with a separate report providing an overview of twenty years (1990-2009) of Romney tax filings by consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.
A few details on the 2011 returns via the Official Mitt Romney Blog on the Internet:
- 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.
And a campaign-provided highlight reel from the PWC report:
- In each year during the entire 20-year period, the Romneys owed both state and federal income taxes.
- Over the entire 20-year period, the average annual effective federal tax rate was 20.20%.
- Over the entire 20-year period, the lowest annual effective federal personal tax rate was 13.66%.
- Over the entire 20-year period, the Romneys gave to charity an average of 13.45% of their adjusted gross income.
- Over the entire 20-year period, the total federal and state taxes owed plus the total charitable donations deducted represented 38.49% of total AGI.
A couple of quick takeaways, not in bullet point form: 1) If Romney's 203 page 2010-filing is any indication, this year's return will confirm that the U.S. tax code is needlessly complex, not that this is a surprise to anyone. 2) Mitt Romney is a very wealthy man. 3) Romney's effective tax rate of 14.1 percent this year is lower than the effective tax rates paid by a lot of people who earn far less than him. In fact, as the campaign notes, Romney actually declined to take the full charitable deduction, and thus paid more than he had to. 4) Unless someone can prove that he is lying or breaking the law — and no, legal strategies designed to lower one's tax burden don't count — the details of Romney's personal tax history are far, far less important than the details of his plan to reform the U.S. tax code, which he has so far refused to specify.