TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Friday, December 30, 2011

Obama Attacks Romney's Refusal to Release His Tax Returns

Following up on my prior posts:

President Obama's Twitter account asks: Why won't Mitt Romney release his tax returns?:

For more, see Joshua Blank, In Defense of Individual Tax Privacy, 61 Emory L. J. ___ (2012).

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Romney should "Hit back twice as hard" and ask the same question of Obama regarding his college transcripts.

Fair is Fair.

Posted by: Dr. K. | Dec 31, 2011 1:58:32 AM

As my mother used to say, "People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones."

Posted by: ColoComment | Dec 31, 2011 3:56:32 PM

OK, further on this post: why do we expect presidential candidates (or winners) to open their private financial lives to the public? So long as they're not under investigation for fraud, etc., it's none of our business what their income may be, how much they contribute to charity, or the like. I don't know when that started, but I'd like it to stop. If that's Romney's position, then I find it totally respectable.

Posted by: ColoComment | Dec 31, 2011 4:01:46 PM

I agree that even a Presidential candidate is entitled to privacy, but with Mr.Romney much of his tax policy will affect him personally. Abolition of the Estate Tax could save Mr. Romney's family tens, maybe hundreds of millions.

The right compromise would be for a limited release, say Gross Income, Adjusted Gross Income, Deductions, Taxable Income and Tax paid.

One strongly suspects that Mr. Romney is embarassed about his low effective tax rate.

Also, didn't Mr. Romney blast the late Sen. Edward Kennedy in their 1994 race for not releasing his tax returns? Of course, these days it is far more likely Mr. Romney flip flopped on an issue than remained consistent.

Posted by: David R | Dec 31, 2011 5:36:14 PM

It won't take Romney as long to release his tax returns as it did Obama to release what he says is his birth certificate.

Posted by: Woody | Dec 31, 2011 8:46:59 PM

I'd like to read Obama's bar application Character and Fitness file. He was sworn in a month after the rest of his bar exam class. Why?

Posted by: UnemployedCooleyGrad | Jan 1, 2012 8:09:02 PM

Dr. K. - I concur. I think Mr. Obama's college and law school transcripts will tell us a lot more about his fitness to be president than Mr. Romney's tax returns. We know Romney is rich with a high income and a desire to pass his wealth on to his children without the IRS taking it all - seeing his tax returns won't add anything to our current knowledge. We don't know a damn thing about Obama's abilities as a student or whether he was just passed along as an AA beneficiary.

Posted by: Douglas | Jan 3, 2012 4:02:03 AM

Gentlemen: You fail to understand the importance of college and law school transcripts. Employers use educational transcripts as imperfect--indeed rather poor--predictors of future job performance. Once a person has experience in one or more jobs, the educational predictors lose whatever relevance they ever had. Both the President and the Governor have substantial, public resumes. Their educational transcripts are of no value whatsoever.

Posted by: Publius Novus | Jan 3, 2012 8:07:16 AM