Mitt Romney Tax Returns: Grossly Distorted By Media?

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Is the media grossly misreporting the taxes paid by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney? According to one review of his 2011 return, very much so.

Mitt and Ann Romney's 2011 adjusted gross income (AGI) was about $18.6 million, with their total federal income tax coming to $1.9 million, or 14.1 percent.

Ann Romney and Mitt Romney

This number is a bit misleading, however, when analyzing Mitt Romney tax returns.

It implies the Romneys kept 85.9 percent of what they earned, which isn't the case.

First off, they clamed $4.6 million in itemized deductions, including $1.3 million in state and local income taxes and $215,000 in real estate taxes.

That's more than $1.5 million they never saw, and the generous couple also donated $1.3 million in cash and another $921,000 in securities.

Another $2.21 million they did not keep for themselves.

The Romneys earned $2.2 million in qualified dividends and $6.8 million in capital gains in 2011, income taxed at the favorable rate of 15 percent.

While this rate seems low, it has been taxed at the corporate level first at a higher rate - 35 percent. The government has been paid twice, in other words.

Finally, the Romneys paid $103,000 in foreign taxes, which has nothing to do with offshore accounts, but global investments taxed in their nation of origin.

According to this analysis, on $18.6 million of productivity, they paid $10.8 million in taxes and gifts to charity, keeping just 42.1 percent of what they produced.

Yes, this still makes them extremely wealthy, and no, it does necessarily make Romney any more (or less) qualified to be President of the United States.

Viewed through a different lens, however, Romney's generosity and tax burden is not the example of responsibility-shirking greed his opponents might like you to believe.

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Mitt Romney Biography

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Mitt Romney wants to be elected President in 2012. The former Governor of Massachuetts is challenging Barack Obama for that lofty... More »
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Willard Mitt Romney