Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Mitt Romney's tax dodges, Part I

The good folks at Rolling Stone recently published an expose of the way Mitt Romney hides his fortune. That lets him avoid paying taxes. Though Romney is worth at least $250 million (and possibly much more), he pays taxes at a 14 percent rate. That's lower than many teachers and firefighters.

Tim Dickinson brings us the gory details of his tax dodges. We will bring them to you one at a time so you can fully absorb their impact.

We'll start with the Bermuda Shell Game. Dickinson tells us,
Romney has buried an unknown, and perhaps significant, chunk of his wealth in what SEC filings describe as "a Bermuda corporation wholly owned by W. Mitt Romney" – driving speculation that the candidate is worth far more than he has disclosed publicly. Wealthy Americans frequently launder investments through such offshore shell companies, passing themselves off as foreign investors – a scam that makes them exempt from paying U.S. taxes, even on profits from American deals. Romney created his shell company, Sankaty High Yield Asset Investors, in 1997 and reportedly involved it in many of Bain's biggest deals, including the takeover of Domino's Pizza. Yet he failed to report its existence on any financial disclosures prior to his 2010 tax return, even though it is under his control. "What is this corporation? What does it do? Why was it set up in a tax haven?" asks (Rebecca) Wilkins (senior counsel at Citizens for Tax Justice). "There's a reason why it's in Bermuda."
You can read the whole thing here.