Romney urged by ally Christie to release tax return

Discussion in 'Politics' started by AK Forty Seven, Jan 18, 2012.


    Romney urged by ally Christie to release tax return

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a key ally of Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney, on Wednesday joined Romney's rivals in urging the candidate to release his income tax forms after he said he pays roughly a 15 percent tax rate.

    "Let's get all of the facts out there. See what the tax returns say," Christie told MSNBC's program "Morning Joe," although he downplayed that the forms would reveal much and that all the attention would probably be "much ado about nothing."

    On Tuesday, Romney told reporters that most of his income stems from investments, placing him at the 15 percent rate - a rate much lower than what most Americans pay. He has said he would not release his tax returns until April.

    Romney's Republican rivals have been eager to paint the former private equity executive at Bain Capital LLC and Massachusetts governor as out-of-touch with ordinary voters amid a slow economic recovery and have pounced on the tax issue.

    "What I would say to Governor Romney is: if you have tax returns to put out, you should put them out. You should put them out sooner rather than later because it's always better to have full disclosure, especially if you're the frontrunner," Christie said on NBC's program "Today."

    Christie, mentioned as a possible vice presidential running mate for Romney, has been actively campaigning for the former Massachusetts governor, making appearances in New Hampshire and Iowa, the first two states to hold nominating contests.

    Romney is leading the pack in the state-by-state race for the Republican Party's presidential nomination to face Democratic President Barack Obama on November 6. Saturday's Republican South Carolina primary is the next contest in the race.

    Former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Governor Rick Perry have suggested that Romney may be hiding something in not releasing his tax forms.

    Some tax analysts have also said it could shed light on Romney's work at the helm of Bain Capital that could give political ammunition to rivals.

    A Wall Street Journal editorial on Wednesday called on Romney to use his returns as a platform to call for a simplified U.S. tax code.

    "Mr. Romney could use the opportunity to make the moral and practical case for lower rates and fewer loopholes," the Wall Street Journal said.

    Romney, whose estimated net worth is $270 million, is one of the wealthiest people to ever run for U.S. president.

    Christie said he would not rule out serving as the Republican vice presidential candidate but added that he was planning to continue serving as New Jersey's governor and has had "zero" discussions with Romney about the job.

    "If you're a betting guy, I would bet on me being governor of New Jersey after November 2012. But I think it's rude and wrong to say you wouldn't do something that you haven't been asked to do, and I haven't been asked to do it," Christie told the "Today" show.
  2. I doubt he would release any tax returns, particularly if the factual tax returns were to indicate a rate lower than 15%.
  3. 377OHMS


    We're all still waiting for Obama to release his university transcripts and to reveal details of how he purchased his home and the adjacent land. Something really stinks about that land deal.
  4. One might also be still waiting for Maddoff to release how much money he sent to Israel from the money he defrauded the americans.
  5. Epic


    Anyone who can put 2 and 2 together already knows that the effective rate will be lower than 15%. Just a simple breakdown.

    1) He makes almost all his money as either capital gains or carried interest.

    2) He makes about $350K in speaking fees which are normal income.

    3) He might have made a bit more from book sales, but he "gave all that away".

    He is very good at managing finances, so "giving something away" likely means that it was done in a manner that qualifies as a charitable donation, and thus as a deduction. During his Bain days, it was normal for the group to see annualized returns around 80%. He currently holds about $250MM in investments globally, and I think it would be reasonable to assume that during the last couple years he saw returns around 15-20%.

    Much of that investment return will be unrealized, and thus not taxable, and I personally think that his opponents are going to try to include that as income, which would reduce the effective rate even further.

    But even if we are to follow the actual rules and only consider taxable gains, he likely had something like $20MM in realized capital gains, taxed at 15%. I'm not sure how he interprets the mormon requirement of a 10% tithe, but let's assume that he only counts realized income. That would still be about $2MM in charitable donations. Then consider that he also has a family charity which I'm sure received a couple million at least, in cash or stock.

    So let's assume $4MM in charitable deductions. That completely wipes out any income from speaking fees, and book sales were likely counted as deductions as well.

    On a realized gross income of $20MM, he likely paid a tax rate of 15% on $16MM. Leaving an effective rate of 12%.
  6. Glad there is someone with a brain on ET.
  7. Epic


    The ironic thing about the whole topic is that John Kerry was demonized for giving less than 1% of his income to charity. Mitt is going to be demonized for giving close to 20% of his income to charity.

    Then the second irony. Every other GOP candidate is calling for greater reductions in cap gains tax. Most are calling for 0% or close to it. Mitt is only calling for 0% cap gains for those making $200K or less. He actually wants the current or slightly higher rate to apply to those making more than that.

    So maybe the most charitable candidate ever, and the only one not asking to be taxed less than he currently is, is strangely the one who is being demonized for income and taxes. Something not quite right about that.
  8. Epic: Just looking at your analysis, wouldn't the AMT kick in and force him into a higher effective rate than 15%? I don't know all the rules, but I know it looks at all kinds of things and if it sees "excessive" (however the IRS defines that) deductions in any one area those deductions are largely forced to be taken back on and taxed.
  9. Epic


    At first glance I would say no, because charitable donations are one of the few itemized deduction that aren't limited by the AMT.

    I suppose I might have a few minutes to run a quick analysis to see, but even if they weren't allowed as deductions to the fullest extent, they would still only be taxed @ 15% and the effective rate might then be closer to 14% in the end.
  10. Epic



    I still think the AMT doesn't apply, unless his tax situation is more complex and includes large amounts of stock options that weren't sold the same year that they were exercised, or if he was using equity loans on property to fund Ferrari purchases.

    Anyway, we are really just splitting hairs. The fact is that he doesn't make the tax rules. He just follows them. When it comes to him making the rules as president, he is the only one of the candidates not wanting to reduce the very taxes that he is subject to.
    #10     Jan 18, 2012