Mitt and Ann Romney released their 2011 tax returns as promised, revealing the couple had income of $13.7 million and paid 14.1 percent in taxes. The couple also donated $4 million to charity, including $1.1 million to their church.
President Obama has criticized his Republican opponent for not releasing at least 10 years of returns and has consistently said he is out of touch with the average American taxpayer. However, Romney is releasing a 20-year snapshot of his taxes providing details on how he has acquired some of his substantial wealth.
The Romneys filed their return on Friday after receiving an extension for the Internal Revenue Service, something they routinely request due to the complexity of their return.
Former IRS Commissioner Fred Goldberg said in a statement released by Romney's campaign that the couple "fully satisfied their responsibilities as taxpayers."
"These returns reflect the complexity of our tax laws and the types of investment activity that I would anticipate for persons in their circumstances," Goldberg said in the statement. "There is no indication or suggestion of any tax-motivated or aggressive tax planning activities."
This contradicts a statement earlier this year by Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid who said he had a source that said the Romneys paid zero income tax in 2011.
Included in the return was a schedule of his charitable contributions. Of the $4 million (29.4 percent of their income) donated to charity, the Romneys claimed a deduction of $2.25 million so that they could fulfill a commitment to pay at least 13 percent in taxes over the last decade. Of their total charitable contributions, $1.1 million was tithed to their church. They are part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Earlier this year, Romney issued a statement saying that the "overpaying" of taxes may disqualify someone from seeking the presidency.
"If I had paid more than are legally due, I don't think I'd be qualified to become president," Romney said in July.
By not taking advantage of the maximum allowed, Romney was in essence paying more than he should have.
In comparison, the Obamas donated $172,130 to charity from a gross income of $789,674, or 21.8 percent of their income. Only $1,000 was donated to churches. Romney donated more to charity than either Obama or Biden.
Another issue that is often discussed is the rate of taxes paid by those who have earned income versus investment income. For example, most all of the Obama's income is "earned" income, meaning they pay a higher percentage as do most working Americans. Yet in contrast, the Romneys' income was taxed at the lower "investment" rate such as is the case with most retirees.