Romney’s lawyer has admitted that they massaged his tax returns to hit a politically expedient:
Mitt Romney’s lawyer admitted to the Democratic accusation that the Romneys could have paid a lot less in taxes in 2011, but they manipulated the returns so as to conform to an August Romney claim that he always paid at least 13%.
The AP reported:
But, Brad Malt acknowledged, the couple “limited their deductions of charitable contributions to conform to the governor’s statement in August, based on the January estimate of income, that he paid at least 13 percent in income taxes in each of the last 10 years.”
Romney told us that paying more than he owed would disqualify him from the presidency, but he has now paid more than he owed in order to make his earlier statement about never paying below 13% appear to be true. Not to worry, though, Mitt Romney can merely amend his return after the election in order to get that money back from the government, like any 47%-er would want to do.
Additionally, there are no details on the offshore accounts in his Bain Retirement account, and note here, Romney is not personally evading taxes here, he couldn’t because it’s his retirement fund that is pays taxes right now, not the Romneys.
Furthermore, his use of the average rate may be a bit of statistical slight of hand:
5:32 pm by Liam Denning
We checked with the Romney campaign and the 20-year tax-rate average is a simple one (i.e., the average of the percentage in each year) rather than a weighted one (i.e., where you add up all the tax paid across the 20 years and divide it by all the income).
It’s a potentially important difference because the simple average treats each year equally — whether Romney earned, say, $5 million in that year or $30 million. It is especially important if Romney paid a low tax rate in a year in which he earned a lot but paid a high tax rate in years when he earned less. The weighted average would give a more accurate picture.
Of course, releasing the actual underlying year-by-year data would clear up any confusion — but that is a step Mr. Romney has said he won’t take.
Well, we don’t know what is hiding in has tax returns, but we know some of what he is intended to obscure in this release.