Romney’s Giving Exceeded Tax Payments

January 24, 2012       Samuel Fanburg      

Giving away $7 million in charitable contributions and paying $6.2 million in federal income taxes, GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney contributed more money to charity than he paid in federal tax during the past two years. Newt Gingrich contributed $81,133 to charity in 2010, while paying $944,708 in federal income tax.

The tax returns for Rick Santorum and Congressman Ron Paul have not been released and calls to the campaigns were not returned by press time. Gingrich released only one year of data.

During a Republican debate, Romney noted that by disclosing his tax returns from the past two years, the American public would be satisfied he paid his fair share.

“You’ll see my income, how much taxes I’ve paid [and] how much I’ve paid to charity. I pay all the taxes that are legally required, not a dollar more,” said Romney during NBC’s telecast of the debate. “I’m proud of the fact that I pay a lot of taxes.”

For 2010, available tax returns show that Romney had total income of $21,661,344, with an adjusted gross income of $21,646,507 in 2010. Itemized deductions totaled $4,519,766.

None of Romney’s income was from wages. Romney’s millions were from capital gains, stock dividends and interest payments.

Romney had an effective tax rate of 13.9 percent. The largest charitable contribution identified in the return was $1,525,000 to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Romney ended up paying a little over $3 million in taxes to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Over the past two years, Romney has donated at least $4.1 million to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

For Gingrich, total income was $3,162,424. With an adjusted gross income of $3,142,066, Gingrich had itemized deductions of $218,095. In all, Gingrich paid $994,708 in federal tax in 2010.

Gingrich ended up with a 31.6 percent tax rate and the largest named contribution was $9,540 going to the Basilica of National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in which his wife Callista is a member of their choir. Tax information also shows Gingrich paid $19,800 in alimony in 2010.

Romney released his tax returns numbering nearly 550 pages on Tuesday morning. Included were his 2010 person tax returns along with tax returns for three family trust funds and a foundation. Gingrich unveiled his tax returns Jan. 16 in preparation of the South Carolina primary.

As the tax returns became public, the Obama administration has taken millionaires and billionaires to task believing they pay a lower tax rate than average Americans.

“The president believes that it is not fair – inherently not fair—that those who are millionaires and billionaires pay a lower rate than average Americans who are struggling to get by,” said White House press secretary Jay Carney during his Monday briefing.

President Barack Obama had total income of $1,795,614 with an adjusted gross income of $1,728,096 according to available tax returns in 2010. He paid $453,770 in taxes, at a 26 percent tax rate. Itemized deductions accounted for $373,289 and charitable contributions totaled $245,075. The largest contribution was $131,075 going to the Fisher House Foundation.

According to the most recent available data from the IRS in 2008, only 13.7 percent of taxpayers with incomes more than $200,000 paid less than 15 percent in taxes. And, by the count of the nonpartisan, Tax Foundation, the average effective tax rate for millionaires is 25 percent.