Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney on Friday released his full tax returns for 2011, making good on his vow to disclose the returns amid intense pressure from political opponents.
President Barack Obama’s campaign has consistently emphasized Romney’s wealth to portray him as out of touch with an American public suffering in a sluggish economy. The Republican candidate’s reticence in releasing his tax returns has fueled speculation about what politically damaging information they might contain.
Romney and his wife, Ann, paid $1.94 million last year on $13.7 million in income—most of which came from investments—for an effective tax rate of 14.1 percent, the Romney campaign website said in a post on its blog.
Romney’s personal income would place him in the top U.S. tax bracket of 35 percent, but income derived from investments are taxed at a much lower rate.
The couple gave just over $4 million to charity in 2011.
Romney also provided a letter from his tax preparer, giving a summary of tax rates from the couple’s returns from 1990 to 2009. During that period, Romney and his wife had an average annual effective tax rate of 20.2 percent, with the lowest annual effective rate during that period being 13.7 percent.
The announcement comes on the heels of a turbulent week on the campaign for Romney, whose personal net worth has been estimated at $250 million. A video that became public this week showed Romney telling a small group of wealthy donors earlier this year that 47 percent of Americans are dependent on the government and that he will “never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
U.S. presidential candidates are not required by law to disclose their tax returns to the public, though it has become a standard practice in recent decades as a way for politicians to convey a sense of honesty and transparency to the electorate.
Obama has released 12 years of his personal tax records. He and his wife, Michelle, reported an adjusted gross income of $789,674 in 2011, paying an effective tax rate of 20.5 percent, the White House said earlier this year.