Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney reversed course and, under pressure from rival candidates, said that he would release his tax return, probably around April 15.
During a campaign stop in Florence, S.C., on Tuesday, Romney also acknowledged that his tax rate was likely around 15 percent, which would correspond with the rate paid on capital gains investment income.
“It’s probably closer to the 15 percent rate than anything,” Romney said, according to The New York Times. “Because my last 10 years, my income comes overwhelmingly from investments made in the past, rather than ordinary income or rather than earned annual income.”
Even though he left his job as head of the private equity firm Bain Capital in 1999, Romney continues to draw income from his investments with the firm, qualifying him for the 15 percent tax rate on carried interest income, as opposed to the top tax rate of 35 percent on ordinary income.
Romney also earns part of his income in speaking fees, but he said that the $374,327 he earned from speaking fees last year was “not very much.” Romney’s net worth is estimated to be $270 million. Until recent days, Romney has indicated reluctance with releasing his tax returns (see Romney May Not Release Tax Return).
One of his rivals, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, said he would release his tax return Thursday, and urged Romney to do the same. Another rival candidate, Texas Governor Rick Perry, released his tax returns last October. President Obama released his and his wife Michelle’s tax return last year, showing he earned over $1.7 million, and the White House is expected to release their tax return again in April. The bulk of Obama’s income last year came from sales of his books.
On Wednesday, during an appearance on the Today Show, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie joined the chorus of fellow Republicans who urged Romney to release his tax return. Critics say that Romney should make available more than his latest tax return, but should release returns going back to his days at Bain Capital to show how he made his money. His investments at Bain Capital include at least one fund based in the offshore tax haven of the Cayman Islands, according to financial disclosure forms cited by ABC News on Wednesday.
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