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SALT LAKE CITY — Much has been made the past few weeks about presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney and his unwillingness to release more than two years worth of tax returns. And the latest assault by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who said Romney did not pay taxes for a 10-year period, has many questioning the validity of his claims.
The people behind the website PolitiFact — reporters and researchers who examine reports and statements made by politicians and government organizations — reviewed the unsourced claims presented by Reid.
PolitiFact reviewed several Internal Revenue Service studies and concluded there is a slim possibility Romney did not pay taxes some years, but said it was highly unlikely, particularly because Romney continued to make a profit.
In addition, PolitiFact looked at an article posted by Salon.com, which casts doubt on Reid's claims after talking to several tax attorneys.
It's possible he paid very little in taxes, but I find it hard to believe that he paid none.
The Salon article quoted David Miller, a tax attorney in New York, who said it was "high unlikely" Romney paid nothing.
"It would be easier for someone like Steve Jobs to pay zero, as most of his wealth was in company stock, which isn't taxed until sold and may never be sold," Miller said. The Salon article continued: "But Romney's arrangement with Bain is different. He would have earned management fees, and when Bain sold the underlying companies that it invested in, Romney would have been subject to tax on his share. ‘It's possible he paid very little in taxes, but I find it hard to believe that he paid none,' Miller said."
PolitiFact concluded that Reid's claims are unfounded unless Romney releases his taxes and actually proves no taxes were paid during the disputed 10-year period.
"Reid has produced no evidence to back up his claim other than attribution to a shadowy anonymous source," PolitiFact said. "Romney has denied the claim, and tax experts back him up, saying that the nature of Romney's investments in Bain make it highly unlikely he would have been able to avoid paying taxes altogether — especially for 10 years."
Since his initial claims, Reid has been asked several times if he would release his tax returns. But the Senate Majority Leader said his financial disclosure forms he files for Congress are sufficient.
"I'm a member of Congress now, I don't make too much money," Reid said. "But it's all listed every year."
Related political news:
- Obama's college classmate: Unseal your records. An article posted on The Blaze by a contributor who claims to be a classmate of President Barack Obama while at Columbia, said he believes there is a scandal with Obama's school records. He contends Romney should agree to release more tax returns if President Obama agrees to unseal his records.
- Obama's new campaign tactics — "Romney Hood." President Barack Obama has labeled Mitt Romney's tax plan at "Romney Hood.," saying, Romney wants to take from the middle class and give more tax cuts to the rich. "It's like Robin Hood in reverse — it's Romney Hood," Obama told supporters at a fundraiser in Connecticut.