Offshore tax havens, a Swiss bank account, and controversial foreign investments—just a few of the things we can determine from the two years of tax returns Mitt Romney has begrudgingly released to the American people.
Now, after delving further into Romney’s financial records, the New York Times confirms that Romney and his fellow elite investors “are able to increase their fortunes in ways unavailable to most taxpayers” and to actually “avoid taxes”:
A review of thousands of pages of financial documents and interviews with tax lawyers found that in some cases, the offshore arrangements enabled his individual retirement account to avoid taxes on its investments and may well have reduced Mr. Romney’s personal income tax bills.
But perhaps a more significant impact of Mr. Romney’s offshore investments has been on the profit side of the ledger—in the way Bain’s tax-avoidance strategies have enhanced his income.
Some of the offshore entities enabled Bain-owned companies to sidestep certain taxes, increasing returns for Mr. Romney and other investors. Others helped Bain attract foreign investors and nonprofit institutions by insulating [investors] from taxes, again augmenting Mr. Romney’s bottom line, since he shared in management fees based on the size of each Bain fund.
Romney refuses to live up to the standard set by previous presidential candidates like his father and release more of his tax returns. What is clear from his finances is that he plays by a different set of rules than middle-class Americans—a disparity that he plans to preserve if elected.