Romney Tax Returns: Tax Bill of Nearly $2 Million

Posted: Sep 21, 2012 1:56 PM

Brad Malt, the trustee of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's blind trust, released a statement that the campaign will be releasing the Romneys' 2011 tax returns at 3pm along with a letter from accounting firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers that will provide the Romneys' tax rates over the 20-year period from 1990-2009.

The top-line numbers for 2011: Romney made $13.7 milion on mostly investment income and paid $1.9 million in taxes - an effective tax rate of 14.1%. Over the 20-year period that PWC will release, the Romneys' average effective tax rate was over 20%. Remember, Harry Reid claimed that the Romneys had a 0% rate in certain years. That was absurd at the time and really looks like Reid should issue a formal apology for such irresponsible scaremongering.

The Romneys donated over $4 million to charity, which is about 30% of their total income. Moreover, the Romneys did not claim the fullest deduction possible on their charitable donations - meaning that they overpaid in taxes to the federal government. Over the 20-year period, the Romneys donated an average of 13.45% to charity - an astonishing number. The average amount that Americans donate every year is 3% of their income.

That 3% is more than the current occupants of the White House in their early political careers. For comparison, before he became Vice President, Joe Biden donated an average of $370 per year to charity - around 0.2% of his total income. Since becoming VP, Biden has become a lot more generous, giving 1.4% to charity in 2010. President Obama gave less than 1.5% of his income to charity before he became a Senator, and upped that substantially since becoming President.

Here's the statement that Malt posted online:


This morning, Gov. and Mrs. Romney filed their 2011 tax return with the IRS. At 3:00pm today, the Romney for President campaign will be posting the 2011 return online.

The complete 2011 tax return, with full schedules, statements, and attachments, will be made available with all other previously-disclosed information at

Also posted will be a notarized letter from the Romneys’ tax preparer, PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP (PWC), giving a summary of tax rates from the Romneys’ tax returns for the 20-year period of 1990-2009.

In advance of the posting of these new documents, I wanted to provide some top-line details.

Regarding the newly-filed 2011 Tax Return:

  • 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.

As with the 2010 tax return, the 2011 tax return will appear as four separate documents. It includes Governor and Mrs. Romney's Form 1040 as well as three underlying Massachusetts trusts detailing the sources of their income. Those are The W. Mitt Romney Blind Trust, The Ann D. Romney Blind Trust, and The Romney Family Trust.

The investments within the trusts are managed on a blind basis by me, the trustee. I have sole responsibility for making, holding and disposing of the investments.

Regarding the PWC letter covering the Romneys’ tax filings over 20 years, from 1990 – 2009:

  • 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.

During the 20-year period covered by the PWC letter, Gov. and Mrs. Romney paid 100 percent of the taxes that they owed.

Finally, in addition to new documents related to tax filings, the campaign will also be posting on the same website physician letters for both Gov. Romney and Rep. Ryan, making public their current state of health.

After you have reviewed all of the newly-posted documents, you may have further questions. The campaign asks that you direct them to an e-mail account set up for that purpose. That e-mail address is returns @

Thank you.

R. Bradford Malt is a partner at Ropes & Gray, LLP. He has been the trustee of the Romney’s blind trust since 2003.