Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Mitt Romney Releases 2010 Tax Return, 2011 Estimate





Tax Rate

Char. Gifts














Update: New York Times, The Candidates' Tax Returns

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Tracked on Jan 24, 2012 8:11:59 AM


This brings up an interesting alternative way to look at a politician's tax rate: look at his rate of contribution to public goods. That's the tax rate (mandatory contribution to public goods) plus the charitable giving rate (voluntary contribution to public goods). Romney comes to about 30% on that measure; I don't know about the other candidates.

It makes sense, tho, that a public-minded free-market candidate would first seek to minimize his taxes by legal means and then give the money he saved to non-profits that he thinks will do a better job of spending it than the federal government.

Posted by: Eric Rasmusen | Jan 25, 2012 8:15:21 AM

Small point, but due to the US worldwide tax system of taxing foreign activity, I don't think it's fair to deduct the foreign tax credit against total taxes paid when evaluating the effective tax rate.

Posted by: Matt | Jan 25, 2012 6:36:50 AM

Interesting to see that almost all of Romney's investments in foreign corporations were PFICs as to which he elected mark to market or QEF treatment. For those not familiar with PFICs, that means he is paying current income tax each year with respect to these corporations, either on the appreciation in the value of the stock or on a pro rata share of the income earned by the corporation.

Even though there is no deferral of tax, don't count on anyone in the news media reporting these corporations as anything other than "tax haven" investments. Tax experts, this is your chance to shine!

Posted by: taxguy | Jan 24, 2012 1:39:46 PM

You left off a couple of scholarly links from "Think Progress" about Romney's tax returns.

Facts About Mitt Romney’s Tax Returns (Be sure to check the comments.)


Romney Gave More To Mormon Church Than He Paid In Taxes In 2010

Posted by: Woody | Jan 24, 2012 8:45:39 AM

Neat little summary table. I suspect that AGI and effective tax rates will get all the headlines. A Charity to AGI ratio of close to 20% will be a footnote to a footnote; and if discussed it will be qualified by something like "as a Mormon, Mr. Romney is under obligation to donate no less than 10%..."

Posted by: MG | Jan 24, 2012 6:56:45 AM