TaxProf Blog

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

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

More on Romney's Refusal to Release His Tax Returns

Following up on last week's post, Romney Refuses to Release His Tax Returns, Even If He Wins the Nomination:  Bloomberg, Romney Plan to Keep Tax Return Private Breaks With Past:

Mitt Romney, a multimillionaire who is by far the wealthiest of the Republican presidential candidates, said he has no plans to release his income tax returns if he wins his party’s nomination, setting himself apart from past nominees in both parties who have routinely done so. ...

If the former Massachusetts governor wins the nomination and sticks to his plan, he would be one of the only presidential nominees in the last three decades to withhold his income tax returns. While income tax information is private and there is no legal obligation to disclose it, presidents and nominees for the office have regularly done so since the 1970s. ...

Paul Caron, a tax law professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Law, said a refusal by Romney as a presidential nominee to make his income tax return public likely would “become a narrative that sets him up really badly” in the campaign and he’d have to back down eventually.

“It’s sort of unsustainable -- it flies in the face of an awful lot of history,” said Caron, who edits the TaxProf Blog. “As one of the wealthier folks to ever run, there’s probably a heck of a lot there that he’s not excited about having analysts be able to comb over, so it makes a lot of sense that he’s wary of doing it.”

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I'm sure the split infinitive is a misquote.

Posted by: Bob | Dec 27, 2011 6:53:40 AM

C'mon Mitt. We all know you arrange to pay almost all your income at the capital gains rate. Your primary opponents think that you pay too much: (Bachmann 0%, Gingrich 0%, Cain 9%). We know that you tithe at least 10% to your church, so its not like you have embarrassingly low charitable contributions. Lighten up.

Posted by: jim harper | Dec 27, 2011 11:35:29 AM

I always thought it was odd that politicians willingly turn this information over to the public. I'm not hiding anything on my tax returns, but still would not want thousands of tax attorneys and CPAs reviewing them (even if I ran for office).

Also, just to be fair, Hillary Clinton never made her tax returns public when she ran for president.

Posted by: Lt. Dangle | Dec 27, 2011 12:44:51 PM

Perhaps the real problem is he didn't tithe (or tithe as much as the LDS say he should). That could set him up for (another) charge of hypocrisy.

Posted by: TS | Dec 27, 2011 7:12:21 PM

I don't recall Obama willing to give over his info. He is also the only president ever who has not released his school grades. We also never hear from a single friend or girlfriend in his past. WHy is that when we hear every other canidate's history from Washington to Bush and that included both Clintons?

Posted by: Gary | Dec 28, 2011 8:32:34 AM

I do not see how his tax returns are anyones business except his and the governments. If the IRS is OK with it then it is a non issue. His Rep opponents, who routinely complain about "class warfare" from the left just want to indulge in a little bit of that warfare themselves, If it can help their poll numbers.

Posted by: George W | Dec 28, 2011 9:27:32 AM

It would be helpful if folks making comments would check their facts first.

Hillary Clinton did release her tax returns when she ran for President. See

Barack Obama has regularly released his returns as well. See

Posted by: Theodore Seto | Dec 28, 2011 10:59:09 AM

Actually, it was John McCain who came up short in 2008. While I believe that he released his personal returns, his wife filed separately and her returns were not released.

Posted by: Stuart Levine | Dec 28, 2011 7:18:17 PM

...he would be one of the only presidential nominees in the last three decades to withhold his income tax returns.

What's this "one of the only" business? Were there others? If so, name them. If not, say "the only nominee." Are they deliberately trying to obfuscate the issue with poor grammar?

Posted by: Murgatroyd | Dec 31, 2011 7:19:59 PM