By Stephen Ohlemacher
Published: 9:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 17, 2012
WASHINGTON — When it comes to their federal taxes in the last two years, GOP vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan has paid a higher federal tax rate than presidential contender Mitt Romney.
Ryan paid an effective federal tax rate of 15.9 percent in 2010 and 20 percent in 2011, according to tax returns released by the campaign Friday.
In 2010, Ryan and his wife reported an adjusted gross income of just more than $215,000. Most of that was from Ryan’s congressional salary. They paid more than $34,000 in federal taxes on that. They also paid $3,168 in employment taxes for a household worker.
In 2011, the couple reported an adjusted gross income of more than $323,000 and paid nearly $65,000 in federal taxes. In addition to Ryan’s salary, the couple made more than $50,000 in investment income from capital gains and dividends. They also made more than $116,000 in rental income, royalties and trust income. The couple owns rental property in Oklahoma, according to the return.
Ryan reported $2,600 in charitable donations in 2010 and nearly $13,000 in donations in 2011. The Romney campaign said the Ryans’ charitable contributions have gone to groups such as the Boy Scouts of America, Junior Achievement, Women Children’s Horizons, which helps victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence, and Care Net, which counsels pregnant women to seek alternatives to abortion.
Romney’s tax returns have become a distraction for his campaign, with Democrats urging Romney to release more of his returns. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., reignited the debate by making an unsubstantiated claim that Romney hadn’t paid any taxes for 10 years.
Romney said Thursday he has paid at least 13 percent of his income in federal taxes in each of the past 10 years, but has only released his 2010 returns and a preliminary 2011 return. Romney paid about $3 million in federal income taxes in 2010 for an effective federal tax rate of 13.9 percent. For 2011, his campaign estimates that he will pay about $3.2 million for an effective federal tax rate of 15.4 percent.
President Barack Obama and his wife reported paying $162,074 in federal taxes last year on $789,674 in adjusted gross income, an effective tax rate of 20.5 percent.
In a letter to the Romney campaign Friday, Obama campaign chief Jim Messina asked that Romney release five years’ worth of his tax returns, from 2007 through 2011. In return, Messina pledged the campaign would seek no further tax disclosures.
“I commit in turn that we will not criticize him for not releasing more — neither in ads nor in other public communications or commentary for the rest of the campaign,” Messina wrote to Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades.
The Romney campaign, which often says there will be no end to Democrats’ demands for tax records, rejected the offer. “It is clear that President Obama wants nothing more than to talk about Gov. Romney’s tax returns instead of the issues that matter to voters,” Rhoades said.