Harry Reid heard it from someone that maybe Romney didn’t pay taxes for ten years. Romney won’t release his tax returns, so this can’t be confirmed or disproven.
Because the news is so bad at analyzing things like this, let me do it instead.
The incredibly likely scenario is that Romney had losses on his investments following the 2008 financial crash. These losses carry over from year to year, and can cancel out later income. Therefore, Romney probably paid no taxes in 2009, and maybe in 2008 too. Because of those zeroes, we will never see him release any returns past 2010. He can’t really release 2007 without 2008 or 2009.
This likelihood is further affirmed by Romney’s decision to forgo other options. He could, for instance, simply tell us how many millions he paid in taxes in each of the last five years. He doesn’t have to say the income it was based on, so all we would know was an impressively large number of taxes paid. But you can’t do that if you paid close to zero, which he likely did in those years.
For the record, this isn’t illegal or even immoral in my mind. Someone who loses money on investments shouldn’t pay taxes on losses, in aggregate. The problem with the American tax system is that it lets Romney pay far too little even when he earns millions and millions in profits. If he paid more in taxes when he won on his bets, no one would begrudge him avoiding taxes when his bets didn’t pay off.
And I doubt he paid no taxes for ten years. The only way that could make sense is if he had lots and lots of losses over many years. Maybe that’s possible, and Mitt doesn’t want us to know. However, it is unlikely Mitt could lose money in the positive stock markets of the early 2000′s.
But Harry Reid doesn’t care. He isn’t up for election until 2016, so he gets to play the rabid attack dog. He ain’t stupid.
Oh, and there is an outside chance Mitt took the IRS up on their Swiss bank account amnesty program in 2009, but that is unlikely. Yet if it were true, we will never ever see tax documents from Romney. Ever. Imagine the ads you could make with that info?