I just have to say, given the challenges that America faces – 23 million people out of work, Iran about to become nuclear, one out of six Americans in poverty – the fascination with taxes I’ve paid I find to be very small-minded compared to the broad issues that we face. But I did go back and look at my taxes and over the past 10 years I never paid less than 13 percent. I think the most recent year is 13.6 or something like that. So I paid taxes every single year. source
Mitt Romney, while answering questions on the campaign trail, conveyed a sense of indignation that he has to answer questions regarding his tax status:
How dare you ask me about my tax level.
He suggests that this thread of questions is nothing more than a Democratic/Obama creation to divert voters' attention away from the important issues facing our country.
He could not be more wrong!
The paltry 13% tax level -- or lower -- he pays underscores the very nature of the growing divide in America between the concentrated wealth of the 1% and the struggling to get by middle-class. Furthermore, the tax shelters, tax loopholes Swiss accounts, Cayman Island accounts and Bermuda accounts all show a pattern of someone trying to evade tax responsibilities by stashing money abroad -- very unpatriotic and non-presidential.
However, most importantly, Romney is a proud member of the uber wealthy that bemoan the 13% or less in taxes they pay. Hence, Romney is championing for even greater tax cuts for this class and higher taxes for the middle-class:
Mitt Romney’s plan to overhaul the tax code would produce cuts for the richest 5 percent of Americans — and bigger bills for everybody else, according to an independent analysis set for release Wednesday.
The study was conducted by researchers at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, a joint project of the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, who seem to bend over backward to be fair to the Republican presidential candidate. To cover the cost of his plan — which would reduce tax rates by 20 percent, repeal the estate tax and eliminate taxes on investment income for middle-class taxpayers — the researchers assume that Romney would go after breaks for the richest taxpayers first. source
The biggest irony is that George Romney (Mitt's father) is the one that set the precedent for full tax disclosure when he ran for president in 1968:
On December 12, 1967, George Romney's biographer previewed his coming book for the popular magazine Look, and offered a glimpse of what it was like to cover the almost compulsively open governor of Michigan.
Romney, T. George Harris wrote, "has a pronounced tendency to act as he sees fit, even if it might lead to embarrassment." The governor had answered a question about Mormon undergarments despite knowing that "it might inspire a national giggle," and his wife spoke with unusual openness about their marriage.
There was, though, one exception to this pattern: "He balked when I badgered him for a copy of his latest Form 1040, the Federal Individual Income Tax Return," Harris wrote. "Release of the document, while it might serve a political purpose, would not prove very much, he argued. One year could be a fluke, perhaps done for show, and what mattered in personal finance was how a man conducted himself over the long haul."
Romney's son has defined his campaign in opposition to his father's, with a strict zone of privacy that extends to his personal finances; he finally released two years of tax returns, and has refused to release more. George Romney, however, called Harris back and surprised him.
"Stumped by this argument, I was not prepared for the move that it eventually led him to make: He ordered up all the Form 1040's that he and Mrs. Rome had filed over the past twelve years — including those profitable ones from when he saved the American Motors Company from bankruptcy and became a millionaire on the company's stock options."
Harris learned a great deal from the numbers, notably that the Romneys had given 23% of their adjusted gross income to charity, about three quarters of that to the Mormon church. One year, they gave away all but $390 of Romney's salary and bonus.
Romney also payed an income tax rate several times that of his son's roughly 15%: He payed more than half of his income in taxes some years, and paid a total rate for the period over 50%. source