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Mitt Romney's 2011 Taxes Lower Than Expected

Rick Newman

Mitt Romney apparently found a few more tax deductions.

The Republican presidential nominee has completed his official 2011 tax return and released it publicly, showing his tax bill is lower than estimated on a preliminary return published earlier this year.

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Romney paid $1,935,708 in taxes on $13,696,951 in income, according to a statement posted on his campaign Web site. Based on those numbers, Romney's effective federal tax rate is 14.1 percent.

The earlier preliminary return listed Romney's tax bill as $3,226,623, which would have been about $1.3 million more than he ended up paying. It's not clear yet how Romney's accountants managed to whittle his tax bill over the last few months.

The final deduction for charitable giving is the same as on the estimated returns earlier this year: About $4 million. Since that hasn't changed, there must have been other deductions Romney was able to claim.

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There's also some initial confusion about how the Romney campaign is characterizing his total income. On the preliminary return, Romney's adjusted gross income, before deductions, was $20,901,075. His taxable income, after deductions, was $15,205,496. The new figures from the campaign's Web site list Romney's 2011 income as $13,696,951. That presumably refers to his taxable income, after deductions, although it's not labeled that way. If so, Romney's taxable income came in about $1.5 million lower than it did on the initial estimate.

Ordinarily, the effective tax rate is based on the amount of taxes paid as a percentage of adjusted gross income, before deductions. So we don't know what that figure is yet for 2011. In 2010, Romney's effective tax rate was 13.9 percent. The comparable figure for 2011 may be lower, though the Romney campaign may change the way it measures this, since Romney has pledged that over the last 20 years, he never paid less that 13.66 of his income in federal taxes.

Romney's total tax also declined from what he paid in 2010, when he forked over $3,009,766 in federal taxes. His 2011 bill was nearly $1.1 million lower.

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President Obama, Romney's rival for the White House, may have an edge over Romney in the polls, but Romney's balance sheet lords it over Obama's. The president's total earnings in 2011 were a piddling $789,674--less than one-twentieth of Romney's total earnings. Obama paid $162,074 to Uncle Sam, for an effective federal tax rate of about 21 percent.

Rick Newman is the author of Rebounders: How Winners Pivot From Setback To Success. Follow him on Twitter: @rickjnewman.

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