In the face of questions regarding his tax status, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney said that he has not paid less than 13 percent in income taxes over the past 10 years.
There have been allegations surrounding him—mainly from Democrats and President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign—that he has not paid his taxes. Democrats have also criticized him for not releasing his tax information.
“I did go back and look at my taxes and over the past 10 years; I never paid less than 13 percent. I think the most recent year is 13.6 or something like that. So I paid taxes every single year,” Romney said, according to a video of his response to reporters during a stop in South Carolina.
Romney’s statement is the first direct response to address allegations over his finances. Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) made claims earlier this month that the Republican candidate has not paid his taxes, but Sen. Reid did not elaborate on who gave him that information.
“Harry Reid’s charge is totally false,” Romney said, adding, “Every year I’ve paid at least 13 percent, and if you add in addition the amount that goes to charity, why the number gets well above 20 percent.”
Democrats, including Obama’s campaign, have alleged that Romney’s policies on taxes, if he were elected, would favor wealthy Americans like him instead of the middle class and the poor.
After Romney’s statement on Thursday, a spokeswoman with Obama’s campaign, Lis Smith, said in an email that “there is substantial reason to doubt his claims, we have a simple message for him: Prove it.”
She added, “He has forfeited the right to have us take him just at his word.”
Before he talked about his tax rate, Romney said that there are more important issues that people should be worrying about during the election season.
“I just have to say, given the challenges that America faces—23 million people out of work, Iran about to become nuclear, one out of six Americans in poverty—the fascination with taxes I paid I find to be very small-minded compared to the broad issues we face,” he said in the video.
The average American pays approximately an 11 percent federal tax rate, according to the nonpartisan Tax Foundation. It said that, in contrast, millionaires pay around 25 percent on average.
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