Mitt Romney is a baller:
Mitt Romney offered a partial snapshot of his vast personal fortune late Monday, disclosing income of $21.7 million in 2010 and $20.9 million last year — virtually all of it profits, dividends or interest from investments.
None came from wages, the primary source of income for most Americans. Instead, Romney and his wife, Ann, collected millions in capital gains from a profusion of investments, as well as stock dividends and interest payments.
The couple gave away $7 million in charitable contributions over the past two years, including at least $4.1 million to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Romney’s family has for generations been among the Mormon Church’s most prominent members.
The Romneys sent somewhat less to Washington over that period, paying an estimated $6.2 million in federal income taxes. According to his 2010 return, Romney paid about $3 million to the IRS, for an effective tax rate of 13.9 percent.
For 2011, Romney estimates that he will pay about $3.2 million, for an effective rate of 15.4 percent. That’s in line with his earlier estimates, but sharply lower than the rates paid by President Obama and Romney’s closest Republican rival, Newt Gingrich.
“You’ll see my income, how much taxes I’ve paid, how much I’ve paid to charity,” Romney said at a debate Monday night in Tampa. “I pay all the taxes that are legally required and not a dollar more. I don’t think you want someone as the candidate for president who pays more taxes than he owes.” He said his tax bill is “entirely legal and fair,” adding: “I’m proud of the fact that I pay a lot of taxes.”
Romney released his tax returns — nearly 550 pages, including the 2010 returns for three family trust funds and a foundation — in a bid to regain his footing in the Republican presidential campaign after stumbling badly in last weekend’s South Carolina primary. The returns confirm, however, that Romney continues to benefit from his association with Bain Capital, the private-equity firm he founded in 1984 and left in 1999. His earnings through Bain have drawn controversy because they are treated as capital gains rather than wages and thus benefit from being taxed at the lower rate of 15 percent.
Critics say such income, known as “carried interest,” should not be counted as investment earnings because private-equity partners are mostly relying on the money of others rather than their own. The returns show that Romney earned more than $13 million in “carried interest” over the past two years.
Complicated as they are, the tax returns provide only a partial picture of Romney’s wealth. They don’t show the full extent of his net assets, which are estimated to be worth between $190 million and $250 million. Romney has an individual retirement account worth between $20.7 million and $101.6 million, according to his 2011 financial disclosure. He also has a blind trust for his wife, Ann, containing $10 million.
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