Despite groups like ThinkProgress and people like Nancy Pelosi defending Harry Reid’s comments about Mitt Romney not paying taxes for ten years because someone told him so, the Washington Post is giving the Senate Majority Leader four Pinocchios, pointing out that two years of released Romney returns show he paid taxes, making Reid’s assertions false right away.
Romney’s 2010 return and his estimated 2011 return do show that he paid substantial taxes in those years. In 2010, he earned nearly $22 million, including $3 million in taxable interest, nearly $5 million in dividends and more than $12 million in capital gains. He reduced his taxes by giving $3 million in charitable contributions (much of it in appreciated stock, which shielded him from paying additional capital gains.)
In other words, this tax return shows a portfolio that is not structured to yield zero taxes. We spoke to a number of tax experts, all of whom said that, given Romney’s current portfolio, it was highly improbable for Romney to have had 10 years with tax-free returns — though there could have been one or two years with little or no taxes.