As speculation continues to stir over Romney’s undisclosed tax returns, I've compiled a list of 10 possible financial secrets that Romney is hiding from the public. Hopefully, more writers will publish this type of article to pressure Romney to tell us the truth about his financial wealth, so citizens can learn more about the Republican presidential candidate before casting their vote in November.
10) Swiss Bank Account
Romney’s 2010 tax return revealed that he had a Swiss bank account, making him the first Republican presidential candidate to have one. In 2009, the IRS offered amnesty for taxpayers with Swiss bank accounts, and there is speculation that Romney may have taken the deal. Swiss bank accounts are widely known as U.S. tax shelters.
9) $100 Million IRA
This is probably one of the most surprising figures in Romney’s 2010 tax return. Romney was restricted to contributing at most $30,000 to his IRA while working at Bain, so how did it grow so large? He likely contributed much more than the maximum allowed by using the special IRS “safe harbor” rule and understating the value of his Bain stock. Releasing more of his tax returns would shed light on this matter.
8) Cayman Islands Investments
Early in 2012, ABC News reported that Romney “has as much as $8 million invested in at least 12 funds listed on a Cayman Islands registry. Another investment, which Romney reports as being worth between $5 million and $25 million, shows up on securities records as having been domiciled in the Caymans.” The New York Times identified one such fund as BCIP Associates III Cayman. It’s listed on Romney’s 2007 financial disclosure as having paid him more than $1 million the previous year in dividends, interest, and capital gains. Like the Swiss bank account, the Cayman Islands are notorious for being American tax havens.
7) 2009 Federal Income Tax Liability: $0
Even as a member of the super rich, Romney may have taken a serious investment hit during the 2008 financial crisis. This possibility coupled with his numerous tax havens could have reduced his 2009 federal tax bill to $0. If this is the case, Romney’s campaign is as good as politically dead.
6) Deducted 2008 Expenses
Romney may have deducted some of the $35+ million he spent during his 2008 Presidential campaign as “business expenses” from his tax returns. If this is true, it violates many campaign laws, since political donations are not tax deductible.
5) Income received from Bain even after he supposedly “retired” in 1999
Romney claims he gave up day-to-day control of Bain in 1999. However, he has continued to earn money from his Bain investments since the severance deal expired; a disclosure form filed recently revealed roughly $2 million in new Bain income. This would feed right into the Obama narrative that Romney continues to profit from Bain outsourcing and corporate conflicts-of-interests.
4) Investments in “vulture funds”
Vulture funds prey off of distressed nations by buying up their debt cheap and then pursuing aggressive litigation to get paid the full amount of that debt. Recent financial disclosures indicate that Romney has invested over $1 million in companies Solamere and the hedge fund, Elliot Associates, which were the pioneers of these types of funds.
3) Nine consecutive years of a 15% or below effective tax rate.
Long-term capital gains tax rates have been at 15% since the 2003 Bush tax cuts. This means that Romney could have been paying a lower federal income tax percentage than the average American for almost a decade. This plays into President Obama’s narrative of increasing taxes on the wealthy.
2) Romney’s net worth could be higher than $250 million.
Maybe before the financial crisis, Romney was worth $300 million. How about $350 million? Maybe he is richer than we could ever have imagined.
1) Simple home furnishings.
Along with a $55,000 car elevator in his California home, Romney may have purchased a car stairs, car escalator, car Lazy Susan, and a Car-apult for his Mustang, Chevy pickup truck, and his wife’s two Cadillacs (thank you Jon Stewart for your impressive research lol).