Epic Fail

You Can’t Make This Up

The Romney campaign released a statement today regarding the impending release of his 2011 tax return, and in this statement there's this bit of information:

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.

By their own boisterous admission, the Romney's intentionally overpaid by $1.75 million to avoid paying a tax rate lower than 13 percent. He intentionally overpaid $1.75 million in taxes to avoid contradicting himself.

His effective tax rate if he chose not to overpay would have been roughly 9 percent.*

14.1 percent is still lower than most Americans pay and, needless to say, not everyone has the luxury of overpaying nearly two million dollars in taxes just to avoid making a gaffe.

One should never underestimate Mitt Romney though, because he still managed to pull a gaffe out of the hat.

*Update: According to TPM, Romney's real effective tax rate sans missed deductions would be 12.2 percent.

  • The only response I have been seeing is ” now Obama has to give us his college grades”. WTF?!

  • Brutlyhonest

    I think I’m missing something in the Shygetz branch of the comments. I didn’t read him/her/it saying rmoney isn’t an asshat that doesn’t pay enough, just that Ashby gooned the math by equating a deduction with a credit.

    Also, too: The ridiculous deductions these asshats get to take for donating to sham charities/foundations is another example of how the game is rigged.

  • D_C_Wilson

    Ten bucks says that after he loses the election, Mitt will file an amendment to his return to include those missing deductions.

  • Those of you who are spewing “intentional overpayment” please remove your freaking blindfolds.

    And by the way, Romney was fully aware that he was releasing his 2011 tax return, so his accountants no doubt prettied it up as much as they could.

    Also. Too. His charitable giving is only to the Mormon Church. ‘

    Adding…….I would wager big bucks that Romney’s miniscule effective tax rate is far smaller than what most of us pay.

    • incredulous72

      Thank You!

      He had what . . . 5 whole months to doctor them up?

      And with all of his whining about taxes, do you REALLY think that if he “intentionally overpays” on his taxes consistently, he would have a problem releasing more of them?!

      Nothing to see here folks.

  • You know Mitt, the traditional way to cheat on your taxes is to lower your rate.

  • jjasonham

    And he can most certainly amend his return to recoup that extra tax payment after the election if he wanted. He seems to do a lot of things retroactively…

    • Brutlyhonest

      I’d be shocked if he doesn’t amend his return after losing.

  • GrafZeppelin127

    Of course, his fans will simply take this as further proof of his uncommon and unassailable virtue.

    Personally, I don’t think this makes much difference. If anything it’s a net win for Romney, because everyone already knew he paid about 14% in taxes and everyone already has an opinion about that. Now he gets to point to the intentional overpayment, the charitable contribution itself, and the seven-figure tax bill to burnish his generosity.

  • Shygetz

    Your math is wrong. The Romneys didn’t overpay by $1.75 million; they chose not to deduct $1.75 million from their gross income. If you figure a 15% rate on the gross, they intentionally overpaid ~$262,500.

    • JMAshby

      The Romneys didn’t overpay by $1.75 million; they chose not to deduct $1.75 million from their gross income.

      Did you read the Romney campaign statement? They chose not to deduct that amount just to avoid contradicting his earlier statement that he never paid less than 13%

      They intentionally paid more. If you want to say intentionally paying more isn’t the same thing as “overpaying” that’s fair, but that’s semantics.

      • Shygetz

        No, the difference between “intentionally overpaid by $1.75 million” and “intentionally overpaid ~$262,500” is not semantics, it’s math. Bob made an error in his math by treating the deduction as a credit, and I’m pointing out his error so he can correct it. No question that Romney overpaid, but Bob is off by how much he overpaid by quite a margin.

        • JMAshby

          Bob did not make an error. I created this post. I updated the post with new numbers, but “overpay” vs “chose not to deduct” is semantics.

          • Shygetz

            No, it’s not. If he had taken all of his allowable deductions, his taxes would NOT be decreased by $1.75 million. If you choose not to deduct $1.75 million, you end up overpaying by your tax rate x $1.75 million. Why? Because you don’t deduct your deductions from your tax, you deduct your deductions from your income, which is then used to calculate your tax. You made an error (not Bob, my bad), and you persist in it. Jesus H. Christ, I thought our side was supposed to be the numerate one!

    • mrbrink

      “The Romneys didn’t overpay by $1.75 million; they chose not to deduct $1.75 million from their gross income”

      By that standard, you can choose not to deduct the shit from your mouth if you still get to tell everyone what a pretty smile you have.

      • Shygetz

        What the hell does that even mean? I swear, point out that someone made a math error by treating a deduction like a credit, and all of a sudden everyone here loses their shit! The Romney’s overpaid by ~$260K, not $1.75 million, and if pointing out basic math makes me a conservative…well, is that ground you really want to cede?

        • mrbrink

          You said: “The Romneys didn’t overpay by $1.75 million; they chose not to deduct $1.75 million from their gross income.”

          And I said: By that standard, you can choose not to deduct the shit from your mouth if you still get to tell everyone what a pretty smile you have.

          If you fail to see the similarities within the context of the subject matter, well, that’s something you’ll have to reconcile with your own rhetorical depth perception.

          This is a post about Romney playing games with his tax deductible charitable contributions to give the appearance he pays a higher tax rate than 13%.

          Then you said: “I swear, point out that someone made a math error by treating a deduction like a credit, and all of a sudden everyone here loses their shit!”

          You’re the one losing your shit. And I didn’t say a word about you being “conservative” because you think you know basic math, either. This is why I try to avoid conversations with unreasonable people. Too many assumptions and a filling in of the blanks with the intuition of a schizophrenic.

          You told Ashby: “If he had taken all of his allowable deductions, his taxes would NOT be decreased by $1.75 million.”

          If he had taken all of his allowable deductions, which he purposefully did not, he would be $1.75 million richer and his tax burden would most certainly be “decreased.” As a result of not deducting all his allowable deductions, his effective tax rate is higher. Had he taken all allowable deductions, his effective tax rate for 2011 would have been 12.2%, not the 14.1% he chose to pay by withholding. So, he overpaid by not deducting his allowable deductions and his effective tax rate most certainly would have been “decreased” from 14.1% to 12.2%.

          By that standard, you can choose not to deduct the shit from your mouth if you still get to tell everyone what a pretty smile you have.

          So let’s sum up. The Romneys overpaid their taxes by choosing not to deduct considerable portions of their charitable contributions, raising Mitt Romney’s effective tax rate to give the appearance he pays a fair share in his warped mind.

          What don’t you understand about that fundamental truth? What is your beef, exactly? The way it was worded? Your issue seems to be based on a brain dead technicality, rather than “basic math.”

    • Find a new candidate. Yours is done.

  • Remember Romney said this, “I don’t pay more than are legally due and frankly if I had paid more than are legally due I don’t think I’d be qualified to become president.”

    I agree he’s not qualified but for other reasons.

    You can’t understate the hypocrisy here. He’s trying to give himself a $250K tax cut but now he is under paying his taxes. So that speaks volumes about his own tax policies. He showing that the taxes he paid now are too low so why on earth would the rich need more tax cuts.