TaxProf Blog

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

Friday, April 13, 2012

Mitt Romney's Lessons for Your Tax Return

New York Times, Tax Face-Off: Romney vs. Me, by Timothy Egan:

This year, I did my 1040 and its attendant nightmare forms while comparing my family’s financial documents with those of Willard M. Romney's. He paid 13.9% in taxes on income of $21.7 million for 2010 and about the same rate for the not fully completed 2011 returns.

I’m going to pay double Romney’s rate on a mere fraction of his income. But you won’t get any class-war envy from me about a man worth upward of $250 million paying the same rate as someone earning, say, $55,000 a year. Nope. There’s a larger point here than the inequality one, compelling though it is.

Remember: The tax return is a blueprint for how to earn and spend money. It encourages us to do some things and discourages us from doing others.

One disincentive, comparing Romney’s taxes to mine: don’t work. The tax code discourages work, certainly for the rich. And Romney’s plan for the future would further discourage work for poor households with children or those paying for their kids to go to college.

So, taking my cue from the social engineers who’ve manipulated the code, I’m looking to follow Romney’s example next year: work less, stash money overseas, certainly don’t pay for junior year in college. And, of course, complain about my burden.

Citizens for Tax Justice, Tax Tips with Mitt:

Millions of Americans will spend part of this upcoming weekend trying to navigate tax preparation software or filling out the actual paper forms to file their income tax returns before the Tuesday deadline. For those wishing they could pay less tax, outlined below are some tax planning ideas taken from a review of presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s tax returns.


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All the people laughing at Romney are the same people who said health care was a slam dunk in the Supreme Court. See you in November!

Posted by: mike livingston | Apr 14, 2012 2:57:54 AM

Still ignores the taxes paid by the corporations and investments that paid him capital gains or qualified dividends. Entity tax is borne by shareholders even if they don't have to write out the check, just like the employer portion of FICA is borne by employees who never see it itemized as a withholding on their paycheck.

Of course, corporate taxes are also economically borne by customers, employees and vendors, and payroll taxes are borne economically by customers and vendors. So rather than focusing on who writes the check, we should focus on the level to which productive investments are reduced by levying tax and distorted by tax interference.

Posted by: NL_ | Apr 14, 2012 10:33:51 AM

Where was CTJ and their cartoonists when Tim Geithner was nominated to be Treasury Secretary or Charlie Rangel was running Ways & Means?

Posted by: anonymous | Apr 15, 2012 9:27:28 AM