After complaining endlessly about high federal income taxes, Romney pays half a million dollars more than he needs to. Why?
On Friday, the Romney machine released his 2011 tax returns and “summary” of taxes from 1990 to 2009. In 2011, Romney made approximately $13.7 million, donated just over $4 million and paid about $1.9 million in taxes for an effective tax rate of 14.1%. Nothing surprising here considering what he paid in 2010.
The most interesting takeaway is the political accounting tricks being used for dealing with charitable contributions. Even though he was entitled to claim the full $4 million as a tax deduction, Romney only claimed $2.25 million. Why would Romney not claim the full amount and voluntarily pay more taxes? This is, after all, the man who stated earlier that:
“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. I’d think people would want me to follow the law and pay only what the tax code requires.”
The only plausible explanation is that claiming the full exemption would have brought his tax rate down to a politically inconvenient 10.5%, which would have been his lowest effective tax rate in the past 22 years. Earlier in the year, Romney had claimed that he never paid less than 13% in federal income taxes. Essentially, Romney is paying more taxes than required in order to avoid looking like a liar and an under-taxed rich guy. Had he not been running for president, I presume he would have claimed the full deduction.
I usually don’t care if someone pays more taxes than they have to. But when it goes against their stated principles, it is just yet another indication that the candidate is a phony who will say and do anything to win.