September 21, 2012

Romney Limits His Charitable Deduction to Increase Tax Bill

Mitt Romney and his wife, Ann, contributed $4-million to charity last year but claimed a tax deduction for only $2.25-million, according to their 2011 tax return and other financial information released today.

They limited their deduction because their income was less than the amount they reported last January on an estimated tax return, and their donations "would have significantly reduced their tax obligation for the year," according to a letter from Brad Malt, a family trustee.

Mr. Romney wanted to increase his tax bill to conform to his statement in August—based on the January estimate—that "he paid at least 13 percent in income taxes in each of the last 10 years," Mr. Malt said.

In the 2011 return issued today, Mr. Romney reports adjusted gross income of almost $13.7-million, down from $20.9-million in the estimated return. After limiting the charitable deduction, his effective tax rate was 14.1 percent.

The new calculations mean the Romneys donated 29 percent of their income to charity in 2011, compared with 19 percent in the earlier tax filing.

The couple claimed a deduction for about $1.1-million in contributions to the Mormon Church and more than $1.1-million in cash and stock to their family foundation, the Tyler Charitable Trust.

President Obama and his wife, Michelle, gave $172,130 to charity in 2011, or almost 22 percent of their income. See this summary for more information about the charitable activities of both Mr. Romney and President Obama.

Send an e-mail to Suzanne Perry.