Mitt Romney Reveals His Tax Records, Paid $3M in Taxes in 2010

Mitt Romney Made Nearly $22 Million in 2010, Paid Less Than 14 Percent in Taxes
Mitt Romney Made Nearly $22 Million in 2010, Paid Less Than 14 Percent in Taxes (ABC News)

Mitt Romney earned $21.7 million in 2010 and paid nearly $3 million in taxes at a rate of slightly less than 14 percent, according to an early preview of the documents provided by the Romney campaign to several media outlets early Tuesday morning.

The former Massachusetts governor released the tax record amid increasing scrutiny into his financial records and repeated calls by his rivals, and even some supporters, to realease his tax information.

The returns showed that Romney earned more than $42 million over the past two years, and paid $6.2 million in taxes during that time period. He gave just a little bit less, about 10 percent, to the Church of Latter Day Saints.

A majority of Romney's income was derived from investments rather than a yearly fixed salary, which is why the former governor paid a lesser effective tax rate than those in his income category.

The returns also showed that Romney and his wife, Ann, gave away $3 million in charitable donations in 2010, including $1.5 million to the Mormon church.

A full release of the documents is expected later Tuesday.

Romney's move is, in many ways, an acknowledgement by the campaign that his hesitancy about revealing his taxes hurt him in the South Carolina primary.

"We made a mistake for holding off as long as we did," Romney said in a Fox News interview Sunday.

The former Massachusetts governor's reluctance damaged his image of leadership, specifically and economic leadership among the broad majority of South Carolina voters who cited the economy as the most important issue, per exit polls.

Newt Gingrich and other candidates attacked Romney feverishly for not disclosing the information. Romney himself struggled to answer questions on why he wouldn't do so, particularly during debates last week, even eliciting boos from the crowd at one point.

Romney's tax records are likely to bring renewed attention to the amount of wealth the former governor has, which could hurt him in a race where the economy and unemployment are top concerns among voters.

Financial disclosures with the Office of Government Ethics showed Romney's net worth to be between $190 million and $250 million. In 2008, his personal wealth made him the richest presidential candidate. Financial disclosure documents at the time showed that Romney and his wife, Ann, had kept their assets in a blind trust since he became governor of Massachusetts in 2003.

Gingrich revealed his 2010 tax returns last week, which showed that the former House speaker made more than $3.1 million and paid nearly $1 million on his earnings, with an effective tax rate of 31 percent, the rate for the top one percent of earners. Most of those earnings, about $2.5 million, came from his companies and investments, and he earned $21,625 in speaking fees. Gingrich's net worth is more than $6.5 million, according to his personal financial disclosure forms.

As for the timing of the release, Romney explained Monday that it was to accommodate the schedule of Brad Malt, the trustee who invests his family's funds.

Romney's tax records are likely to come under intense scrutiny by his rivals on both the left and the right, a point that the former governor warned about Monday.

"I'm sure anytime you release the number of pages that I'll release that the DNC [Democratic National Committee] and the president's folks will be trying to find anything they can turn into an issue," he said in a Fox News interview Monday. "But you'll find after enough consideration, and deliberation and some honest evaluation that there's nothing in there that's a surprise that there's nothing in there that's unsavory. We followed the law. I paid all the taxes required and I didn't pay a dollar more."

The only information that Romney had revealed up to today was that he paid a 15 percent effective tax rate in 2010, well below what middle-income Americans pay. He also receives speaker fees, which he classified last week as "not very much," even though he was paid more than $370,000 for speaking appearances in the 2010-2011 filing period, according to his personal financial disclosure report released in August.

As he campaigns in Florida, Romney is attempting to turn the tables, assailing Gingrich for not releasing details of his contract with Freddie Mac, which he says is equal to releasing his tax records.

"The speaker was very animated about my releasing tax records. I am. I think it's an appropriate that people should know if there's going to be an October surprise. And in the case of the speaker, he's got some records which could represent an October surprise," Romney said Monday in Tampa. "So let's see the records from the ethics investigation. Let's see what they show. Let's see who his clients were."

Late Monday, the Gingrich Group released some documents pertaining to the former House speaker's work with Freddie Mac. Gingrich left the firm in 2010 when he decided to run for president. But the documents were only for the year 2006, even though Gingrich worked with Freddie Mac from 1999 to 2008.

Among scrutiny into Romney's wealth, his wife tried to put a more personal spin on their wealth, emphasizing her family and saying on the campaign trail Sunday that they measured their wealth "through those children."

ABC News' Emily Friedman and Elizabeth Hartfield contributed to this report.