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.