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Romney: Both tax savvy and tax not so smart

By Dian Vujovich

I know more than one person who believes that because Mitt Romney is running for president, he ought not have any offshore accounts, like Swiss bank accounts, etc., figuring that all of his money should be kept in the United States. While everyone is welcome to their opinion, the simple truth is: The reason Mitt is able to do all sorts of things with his money that most of us can’t is because of our tax code.


But before going there, and still staying on the subject of taxes, a few days ago I heard Mitt address the subject of taxes and his tax returns. He said that he’d looked at a number of his previous year’s tax returns and pretty much had paid taxes in the neighborhood of around 13. 6 percent.


Then he added something I couldn’t believe  hearing. Romney said, ” Add if you add in for charity it goes even higher.”


Add in charity? Higher? Are you kidding me? And that’s about the time I started talking out loud to everyone in the room (my dog and the TV)  and explaining that charitable contributions are a subtraction. Not an add in!  I don’t think they listened.


Romney’s comment left me wondering how this hugely successful– and I’m assuming savvy— businessman could have said something as dumb as that. Pretty much everyone—the rich, the poor and all those in between—knows that we don’t pay taxes on our charitable gifts provided they are given to a qualified tax-exempt organization.  Charitable gifts, when applicable, act as write-offs on one’s taxes. Not add-in’s.


So that’s the not-so-smart part of this Romney and his taxes blog.


The tax savvy part is that because he is an enormously financially successful guy, he can hire a cadre of tax accountants and attorneys to comb through the U.S. Tax Code and seek out tax loopholes and tax  breaks that the average tax-paying gal or guy can’t.


And believe me, it takes a cadre of folks to do this. Why?  Because our U. S Tax Code has some 73,608 pages to it, according to politicalcalculations.blogspots.com.


There is a wonderful chart at that site showing how the number of pages in our tax laws has grown from 400 in 1913; to 40,500 in 1995; 73,608 in 2012; and at various intervals in between.


So whatever you may think of where Mitt keeps his money or the level of taxes he pays  you can thank Uncle Sam for that because it is allowed.


What’s not allowed is for someone who wants to be the President of the United States to not know that his charitable giving contributions haven’t added to his tax bill but have subtracted from it.


Take a minute to see this  colorful chart titled Federal Tax Law Keeps Piling Up at http://tinyurl.com/cfetaz7 .

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