Saturday, January 28, 2012
New York Times, Romney Paid More Than He Owed, by Floyd Norris:
Mitt Romney’s tax returns tell us some things about him. They tell us a lot more about the sad state of the tax laws in this country.
When the candidate released his tax returns this week, the fact most noted was the low 14% effective tax rate paid by one of the wealthiest people in America, one with income of more than $20 million in both 2010 and 2011. Others were surprised to see how easy it was for Mr. Romney to effectively transfer millions of dollars each year to his children, tax-free, thus escaping estate and gift taxes.
But what really stands out is the mind-numbing complexity of tax laws, and about how hard it seems to have been for even the high-priced help Mr. Romney can afford to get things right.
In one case, the trustee for one of the Romney trusts sent two letters to the IRS electing to use an apparently irrelevant section of the tax code, and in the process misstated the facts involved.
That mistake did not affect the taxes owed, but another error was more significant. It appears that the return filed by that trust overstated capital gains realized by nearly $300,000, causing Mr. Romney and his wife to pay about $44,000 more in taxes than they owed.