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CHARLESTON, South Carolina (Reuters) - Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich released his tax returns on Thursday, revealing that he and his wife Callista paid $995,000 on an income of $3.1 million in 2010.

In a move apparently designed to embarrass rival Mitt Romney, who has not made his tax forms public, Gingrich issued his returns during a presidential debate in South Carolina.

The majority of the Gingrich family earnings came from corporations and partnerships which they operate. The couple said they donated $81,000 to charities in 2010.

Gingrich called on Romney during the debate to release his tax returns now while the presidential race was still reasonably early.

"If there's anything in there that is going to help us lose the election, we should know before the nomination. If there's nothing in there, why not release it?" Gingrich said.

Romney, a multimillionaire, has said that he will release his tax returns in April.

This week, Romney said that he pays a tax rate close to 15 percent, much lower than that of most working Americans, because much of his earnings come from investments.

"I'm not going to apologize for being successful," Romney said Thursday.

Rick Santorum, a former senator from Pennsylvania who is battling with Gingrich to be the conservative alternative to Romney, said he would release his tax returns, but they were at home on his computer.

(Reporting By Samuel P. Jacobs; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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