Washington: Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan on Friday released tax returns showing he paid an effective tax rate of 20 per cent last year, roughly in line with President Barack Obama’s rate and likely higher than that of his running mate Mitt Romney.
Ryan’s release of his 2010 and 2011 tax returns aligns him with Romney’s position that giving out two years of tax returns is adequate. Democrats have held the Republican presidential candidate to the fire for not making public more years of tax information.
Romney, who last week tapped Ryan to join him on the Republican ticket, has released tax information showing that he paid a 13.9 per cent rate for 2010. He said in January he would probably pay 15.4 per cent for 2011, and has said he will release his full return for that year in coming weeks.
Obama paid a rate of 20.5 per cent for 2011.
Ryan and his wife, Janna, paid $64,764 (Dh 237,878) in total federal tax on adjusted gross income of $323,416 (Dh1.187 million) in 2011, when they filed an amended return. Their effective 2010 rate was about 16 per cent.
Romney’s campaign posted the Ryans’ tax returns on its website. “It’s time to focus on the real issues in this campaign — turning around the economy and getting America back to work again,” the campaign said.
Obama’s re-election campaign said on Friday that if Romney releases five years of returns, it would not press the former private equity executive to release more — a proposal quickly rejected by Romney’s campaign.
Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, is one of the richest men ever to run for US president. He has an estimated net worth of up to $250 million (Dh918.250 million).
The Obama campaign and its Democratic allies have targeted Romney’s wealth and refusal to release more tax returns in ads that paint him as out of touch with the majority of voters.
Polls show the strategy is working. Independent voters in swing states have a lower opinion of Romney after hearing about his business record and personal finances.
The top federal tax rate for wages is 35 per cent, while capital gains are taxed at a lower rate.
Ryan, a congressman from Wisconsin, has proposed deep cuts in tax rates. He has also said he favours closing tax loopholes, though like Romney, he has offered few specifics on which ones.
Obama has targeted a range of corporate tax loopholes for closure, but has also said little about his plans for dealing with enormous tax breaks that benefit the middle class, such as deductions for mortgage interest and charitable giving.
The Ryans’ 2011 return was amended to report information about the Prudence Little Living Trust and to add $61,122 (Dh224,501) in income that did not appear on the original return.
Prudence Little, mother of Janna, died in 2010 in Houston. The Ryans’ 2011 amended return said the trust was “inadvertently omitted” from their original return.
Romney campaign spokesman Brendan Buck said that a form from the trust had not been received by the filing deadline for the 2011 return “and therefore was omitted on the originally filed documents.” When the form was received, he said, “the omission was realised and corrected.”
The Ryans sharply increased their charitable donations over the two years covered by their returns, reporting gifts to charity of $12,991 (Dh47,715) in 2011, versus $2,600 (Dh9,549) in 2010.
The Ryans also reported much more in capital gains, posting 2011 investment income of $33,153 (Dh121,770), up from $3,135 (Dh11,514) in 2010.
Their income from rental real estate and other supplemental sources rose to $116,043 (Dh426,225) in 2011 from $39,013 (Dh143,294) in 2010.