Romney’s Tax Woes


Tax season is upon us all once more but every 4 years or so tax filings become a bit more sensationalized when presidential candidates open theirs up for public scrutiny. This year the hoopla has ballooned a bit beyond the norm. For the second time during this run for president Mitt Romney is delaying the release of his tax returns.

Earlier in the GOP primaries Romney attempted to forestall his previous filings until March of this year, when he would have presumptively finalized his nomination. After sewing up the GOP nomination, what impact could his tax returns possibly have then? Eventually, he succumbed to his opposition’s pressure and the public found out why he wanted to wait. They fell right in line with 99% vs 1% narrative. Romney was shown to sit squarely in the 1% column, living off millions in investments from his time with Bain Capital and paying a significantly lower tax rate than Obama and the vast majority of the country’s middle classes. The numbers highlighted the “out-of-touch”, “one of them” message Romney wishes to distance himself from.

     Fast forward to April 2012, Mitt has all but officially nailed down his nomination as the Republican presidential candidate and once again he is employing a delay tactic to avoid releasing his returns for last year until the last moment. On the very day the Obama campaign stepped up the pressure on the Romney camp to release those figures, he filed a 6 month extension. One may ask why would Mitt Romney need an extension from the IRS?

      Officially, the IRS does not require a reason which makes it a popular option for many Americans. A perusal of various tax advice websites provided a few consistent reasons for requesting such an extension;

  • More personal attention from one’s accountant after the height of the busy tax season.

  • It may reduce the chances of an audit.

  • More time to put paperwork in order, and

  • To take advantage of any changes in tax rules or new deductions.

      These may be practical reasons for the average individual or small business but its doubtful a millionaire of Mitt Romney’s stature would be subjected to any of these problems. It’s doubtful he has to bring a shoebox full of receipts down to the local H&R Block in an attempt to squeeze every last deduction dollar out of the tax code. The likely reality is Romney has his own person accountants on retainer who place his business at the top of their list of priorities. They would be responsible for maintaining organized records, can handle any audits which may come about and know full well what new tax benefits are on their way down the pike.

So what could possibly be the motivation behind Mr. Romney’s extension request?

       Nothing but political. A spokeswoman stated Governor Romney will file his returns “sometime within the next six months”, a month before the November elections and after many people would have filed early ballots. Romney is hoping to elude a second media roundabout scrutinizing his finances. He is desperate to avoid another public perception battle over his relation to the vilified 1%, especially as warmer temperatures are sure to bring the Occupy Movement and income inequality back into the spotlight. While this strategy holds the inevitable questions about his financial dealings at bay, in the public’s eye this attempt to circumvent the long held tradition of releasing candidates’ tax returns will be seen as an effort to hide something from this country’s voters.

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10 Responses to “Romney’s Tax Woes”

  1. But the poor GOP-ers will vote for him. Why?

    • Denial? Misinformation? Ideology? Just to vote against Obama?
      Because they want to see, after that 1st term hair graying comes, if he grows a mustache and starts smoking cigars he’ll look just J.J. Jameson from the Spiderman comics?

  2. Great analysis. I’ll bet my bottom dollar Mittens Romney’s tax returns are completed and signed. The extension is just a delaying ploy as you noted.

  3. His Father released 12 years so one could say the apple fell a long way from the tree. He is hiding and I think taking a huge political gamble. Americans attention span re:politics is about 5 minutes. So for the the rest of the Spring, all Summer and most of the Fall, there is no factual information as to Romney’s taxes.
    No information means no stories in the media and no attention.
    Maybe just maybe, Romney is counting on when (or even if as he can file another extension) the reaction when he does release his return to be chalked up to ‘politics’ rather then another example of his character.

    • I think he is counting on another scandal that allows him to slip them out where they will garner little notice. I’d say he is also thinking that by October many early voters will have already voted and it won’t matter.

      Whichever tactic he continues to take I don’t see it benefiting him.

  4. The whole deal with Romney’s tax returns is just a ploy. He’s a wealthy guy. He’s not the first wealthy guy to run for President or even win his parties nomination. What’s hurting him is that he cannot relate to the plight of the common American. The Roosevelt, Bush, and Kennedy families were all notoriously wealthy, yet they could relate to people. Romney’s problem is relational. He does not connect to society as a whole and is spending large amounts of time attempting to learn how to be a “normal guy”. Releasing his tax returns will only be another slap towards his being a wealthy individual.

    He may think it’s prudent to wait as long as possible to release his returns, but it actually will be an issue later on. He’s a rich guy. We all know that. Hiding his returns only serves to bring up questions, speculation, and conspiracies of what is hiding. It will hurt him long-term if people hammer him on those returns and what he is hiding. Perhaps he doesn’t want people to learn about his three Swiss bank accounts, which he claimed to have closed during 2008.

    Then again, people do have a five-minute memory, and few remember the charges tossed at him for being a rich man by Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson (most people forget Thompson even ran in 2008). Maybe he’s hoping for another Fox News created “War On” something to take the focus off of his finances and onto something completely benign.

    • That’s precisely it, he just can’t relate. Or convince people that he can. His comments show he doesn’t really have a frame of reference unlike Obama who grew up and lived most of his life in the middle class and understands very well what people are dealing with daily.

      It seems you’re making the argument it’s all about perception. Yes, we all know he’s rich but for people to be reminded of how rich he is and how much lower his tax rates are as compared to average people puts that 1% perception squarely on his forehead.

      I can see that, yes, he may be waiting for another Fox-created controversy to use as a buffer.

      Thanks again for another intelligent comment. Always welcome!

      • Just to play devil’s advocate, something I’ve been forced to do a bit lately on my own site, let’s compare Romney’s tax decision to other wealthy people who have run for office.

        Michael Bloomberg has been the mayor of NYC for years now. He releases his taxes when election comes around, and typically the entire list for his previous term.

        Steve Forbes, another wealthy man who ran for the White House, was difficult to relate to for average Americans. He released his tax returns while spending time amongst the voters. He visited homeless shelters, orphanages, VA hospitals. He made it clear that he wasn’t among the people, but that he wanted to help the people.

        President Bush released his tax returns. He was very relatable even for a wealthy man. His father was wealthy, as was his grandfather. Bush focused on being relatable.

        Jon Huntsman, for all his critics on the campaign trail, is a wealthy man. He is the son of a wealthy father and grandfather, just as Romney is. Huntsman related to people by being personable. He plays music on the guitar and drums. He rides dirt bikes. He can talk with anyone on a level of equals, regardless of what status they are. People like that sense of relationship between a candidate and themselves.

        Romney doesn’t do that. His stories fall flat. He doesn’t appear to connect with people on a personal level in any regard. That’s not a bad thing, per se, but it does make the argument difficult. Time after time, rather than take the prudent path to relate, Romney takes the higher income position. That’s okay if you’re courting wealthy donors. It’s okay if you believe your party will win with an elitest on the ticket.

        However, it makes it extremely difficult to call your opponent an elitest when you’re the elitest. It makes it very difficult to say you’re for the middle class, then talk about businesses and Wall Street as if they are the middle class.

        The tax returns won’t help Romney make his case. Delaying them doesn’t help his case. He’s rich. We know it. He knows it. It’s how does he manage to understand and relate to those who are not. If the other Republicans on this list (Bloomberg was a Republican before he was an Independent) could accomplish this feat, why can’t Romney talk to them, and their advisors, and come up with a way to connect before it’s too late for the GOP.

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