After his tax history has become a campaign issue, on Tuesday US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney (photo, from aljazeera.com) has released two large sets of tax documents disclosing his multi-million-dollar income on his campaign website.
In 2010 Mr Romney and his wife Ann paid $3m for an effective tax rate of 13.9%, and he expects to pay $3.2m for his income in 2011, a rate of 15.4%.
According to the documents Mr Romney had a reported income of $21.7m in 2010 and $20.9m last year, an income that places him among the top earners in the US.
Since 2010 the Romney family has also given away $7m in charitable contributions, primarily to the Mormon Church.
Mitt Romney, former Massachusetts governor, is a multi-millionaire businessman.
Virtually all of Mr Romney’s income is derived from investments, an income which under US tax law is usually taxed at 15 per cent, while wages – which represent the main source of income for a majority of Americans – can be taxed at up to 35 per cent.
The documents showed no declared wages on the 2011 estimate.
Mr Romney has been accused, by both Democrats and Republicans, of preying on companies during his years at the head of equity firm Bain Capital, and of reaping huge profits while destroying firms and jobs.
In the nearly 550 pages of tax documents there are also information about far-flung holdings in tax havens including Luxembourg, Ireland and the Cayman Islands. None of the offshore accounts showed much income.
Mr Romney argued that his business acumen makes him the most capable candidate in this period of economic downturn, explaining that while he was at Bain he has turned around several companies and generated tens of thousands of jobs.
Mr Romney’s rival candidates have been putting pressure on him to release his tax returns in line with other presidential candidates past and present.
During a debate last week, Mr Romney said : “I know the Democrats want to go after the fact that I’ve been successful. I’m not going to apologise for being successful.”
While Republicans oppose any tax raise because they think it would stunt job creation, Mr Obama and his Democratic Party believe that millionaires and big corporations should pay more in taxes in order to help trim the United States’ massive debt.
In April 2011 president Barack Obama and his wife Michelle released their 2010 tax return which showed an income of $1.7m. They paid about $450,000 in federal tax, a rate of about 26%.
On Monday he also said : “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.”
At first he said he would release his tax information after the April filing deadline for 2011 but he changed his mind following rival Newt Gingrich’s victory in the South Carolina vote.
Mr Gingrich released his tax figures on Saturday, saying he paid nearly $1m last year, a rate of about 31%.
And on the same day he won the vote in South Carolina, after attacking Mr Romney over his business and tax records.
The candidates are now in Florida, the next state to hold its primary on January 31. With its diverse electorate and a cash-hungry advertising market, the state is seen as a major battleground.
Mr Romney has asked Mr Gingrich to release documents related to his involvement with Freddie Mac, a federally backed mortgage guarantor who required millions in government aid after the 2008 financial crisis.
In the latest debate Mr Romney said Mr Gingrich was doing business with Washington’s “chief lobbyists”.
Mr Gingrich answered that he did not serve as a lobbyist, but as a historian and consultant for the company.
Mr Gingrich released his 2006 contract with Freddie Mac on Monday, although most of his multiple-year working relationship with the company were not covered by the document.
After months of Republican primaries and caucuses in every US state, the eventual winner will be anointed in August, at the party convention. The presidential election will take place in November.