Friday, September 21, 2012

The Truth About Mitt Romney's Taxes & Tithes

Jason Alexander, who is famous for playing George Costanza on the television show "Seinfeld" believes that Mitt Romney won't release his tax records because he believes there may be evidence that he's cheating the LDS Church out of millions of dollars by not paying his tithing:
Its a similar claim to Harry Reid made in which he accused Mitt Romney of not paying taxes for 10 years: 

Here's the transcript of Harry Reid's astonishing accusation:
He’s refused to release his tax returns, as we know. If a person coming before this body wanted to be a cabinet officer, he couldn’t be if he did the same refusal Mitt Romney does about tax returns. So the word’s out that he hasn’t paid any taxes for ten years. Let him prove that he has paid taxes, because he hasn’t.
Jason Alexander accuses Romney of avoiding paying tithing. Harry Reid says Romney hasn't paid his taxes. 
Both claims are outright lies. 
Today Mitt Romney released a detailed report of his 2011 tax returns and Romney's trustee, whose name is Brad Malt, gives us a summary of the 2011 data:
- In 2011, the Romneys paid $1,935,708 in taxes on $13,696,951 in mostly investment income.
- The Romneys’ effective tax rate for 2011 was 14.1%.
-The Romneys donated $4,020,772 to charity in 2011, amounting to nearly 30% of their income.
-The Romneys claimed a deduction for $2.25 million of those charitable contributions. The Romneys’ generous charitable donations in 2011 would have significantly reduced their tax obligation for the year. The Romneys thus limited their deduction of charitable contributions to conform to the Governor's statement in August, based upon the January estimate of income, that he paid at least 13% in income taxes in each of the last 10 years.
Brad Malt, the trustee of the Romney family, also gives us a breakdown of the taxes paid by the Romney campaign for the last 20 years:
- In each year during the entire 20-year period, the Romneys owed both state and federal income taxes.
-Over the entire 20-year period, the average annual effective federal tax rate was 20.20%.
-Over the entire 20-year period, the lowest annual effective federal personal tax rate was 13.66%.
-Over the entire 20-year period, the Romneys gave to charity an average of 13.45% of their adjusted gross income.
-Over the entire 20-year period, the total federal and state taxes owed plus the total charitable donations deducted represented 38.49% of total AGI.
-During the 20-year period covered by the PWC letter, Gov. and Mrs. Romney paid 100 percent of the taxes that they owed.
Its clear that Harry Reid's claim that Mitt Romney hasn't paid is any taxes is a LIE. Mitt Romney has paid 100% of his taxes for the past 20 years. What's even more important is to keep in mind that if you look at the numbers more closely, Mitt Romney paid 30% in taxes rather than the 13% to 14%.
As far Seinfeld actor Jason Alexander's claim that Mitt Romney hasn't paid tithing, the LDS Church does not publicly release how much tithing any member of the LDS Church has paid. That is a matter between the Bishop and the member. Mitt Romney has said that his tithing records should remain private even though by releasing his tax records, people can figure out how much he's given in tithing. 
"Our church doesn't publish how much people have given," Romney is reportedly quoted as saying in the forthcoming edition of Parade. "This is done entirely privately. One of the downsides of releasing one's financial information is that this is now all public, but we had never intended our contributions to be known. It's a very personal thing between ourselves and our commitment to our God and to our church."
However, records show that Mitt Romney has actually paid more than 10% in tithes to the LDS Church: 
The couple’s donations to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints appear to be almost double the 10 percent tithe faithful members are asked to give to the Salt Lake City-based faith.
In addition to Romney’s direct contributions to the LDS Church, he also gave to the faith through his charity for a total of $3.07 million last year, according to his campaign. The campaign also said Friday that the Romneys have given, on average, 13.45 percent of their income annually to charity, including the LDS Church.
Jason Alexander's claim that Mitt Romney is cheating the Church of tithing funds is also NOT TRUE. Its clear that Mitt Romney has been a faithful tithing payer all along. 
For more information on the LDS practice of tithing, the LDS Newsroom gives a simple explanation on tithing and charitable donations while another official LDS website called explains what the Mormon Church does with these funds and why Mormons pay tithing.

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