Romney did that by not taking full advantage of his charitable deductions. In their joint return, he and his wife, Ann, listed $4.02 million in donations to charity last year — nearly 30 percent of their income — which substantially reduced their tax obligation. They claimed a deduction for only $2.25 million of those contributions.
Had the Romneys deducted all of their charitable donations, they would have paid about $467,000 less in taxes for an effective rate of 10.55 percent, according to an analysis by Rebecca Wilkins, a tax lawyer with the Citizens for Tax Justice. Romney can amend his returns at any point over the next three years to take advantage of the potential deductions.
If the Romneys had not taken any charitable deductions, their rate would have been 18.8 percent, said Wilkins, who studied the returns and used accounting software to determine their effective rates.
Friday’s disclosures followed months of political pressure on Romney, one of the richest Americans ever to win a major party’s nomination, to reveal more information about his personal fortune, which is estimated at $190 million to $250 million.
This comes at the end of a turbulent week for Romney’s campaign during which a leaked video showed the candidate, at a private fundraiser in May, dismissing the 47 percent of Americans who pay no income taxes. He said they were like “victims” and feel entitled to government handouts. “I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives,” he said.
Although Romney made good on his promise to release two years’ worth of tax returns — he released his 2010 filings in January — the disclosures are unlikely to silence his critics, including President Obama and his allies.
Romney’s 379-page 2011 returns show that he earned $6.8 million from capital gains and $3.6 million in interest. Romney earned about $190,000 in author and speaking fees, as well as $260,390 for sitting on the board of Marriott International.
None of his income was from wages. Capital gains are taxed at a flat rate of 15 percent, substantially lower than the 35 percent rate typically levied on the wages of those with the highest incomes.
Fred Goldberg, a former Internal Revenue Service commissioner, said in a statement released by Romney’s campaign that the couple “fully satisfied their responsibilities as taxpayers.”
“There is no indication or suggestion of any tax-motivated or aggressive tax planning activities,” Goldberg said.