Romney’s Big Tax Dilemma


GOP presumptive presidential candidate Mitt Romney, as noted in my previous piece, Mitt’s Big Secret, is probably stonewalling demands that he release his 2009 and earlier IRS filings because they could expose to the public that he availed himself of a 2009 IRS amnesty for those who admitted to earlier felonious hiding of income in Swiss and other foreign tax havens.

Some 30,000 wealthy taxpayers did just that after a whistleblower broke the news that thousands of clients of Swiss Bank UBS were illegally hiding income at the bank, and the IRS sued for the names, while also offering the get-out-of-jail amnesty pass option.

But a reader, Phil Birkhahn, points out in his own blog called Romney the Tax Cheat that the slippery Harvard Law grad Romney may also have fraudulently ducked paying taxes in later — and earlier — years. Either that or he has to man-up and accept managerial responsibility for the obnoxious anti-worker and anti-America policies of his Bain Capital company during the 1999-2002 years, and in later years, during times when he asserting that he played none any but a passive investor role in the venture capital firm.

The problem for Romney is that the IRS taxes income significantly differently and allows far fewer deductions, especially for losses, for people who say they were only passive investors in a company than for those who say they were active in management.

Although Romney, whose whole basic argument to voters is that they should elect him because he is a great businessman who will run America “like a business,” also bizarrely at the same time claims that on “Feb. 1999 I left Bain Capital and all management responsibility,” and says “I had no ongoing activity or involvement,” meaning he was a passive investor in the firm, which he still owned 100% from that date until 2002, He is also listed as late as 2002 as one of the two managing members of Bain Capital in its annual report, and the company’s SEC filings list him as CEO, President and managing director as well as sole owner in 2000 and 2001. That would make him an active investor.

If Romney was in fact an active investor, he would have been able to deduct so many expenses and losses that as a shrewd tax lawyer he probably managed to get his taxes down substantially. But if he was really, as he claims on the stump and in interviews when pressed about Bain’s atrocities, like the exporting of jobs of companies it bought to China and elsewhere, then he was not entitled to those deductions he claimed.

It should be easy to find out, if the man would release his tax forms. (And by the way, even the several hundred pages of  2010 IRS tax forms he did release did not include an important one he had to file, the so called FBAR form that lists any money in foreign bank accounts, interest-bearing or not. That’s a form he had to file because that year he admitted having money in a Swiss bank account, but the form is not in what he released publicly — probably because it includes other non-interest-bearing accounts of the type millionaires use to legally duck out on taxes. That’s not something he wants the public to see.)

So let’s see the Obama campaign, voters at public events, and the so-called mainstream press, start demanding that Romney ‘fess up and show his tax forms — all of them — for not just 2011, but for 2010, 2009, 2008 2007, and hey, how about those forms for 1999-2002, just to straighten out this matter of whether he was an active or passive investor in Bain all these years…or a tax cheat.

At this point, you’d think that some auditor at the IRS would be deciding it might be worth poking around in the candidates tax files too. Tax Fraud doesn’t have a three-year statute of limitations: In 1995 a federal court allowed the IRS to pursue a taxpayer for tax fraud going back 31 years to 1964.

Dave Lindorff is a  founder of This Can’t Be Happening and a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press. Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He lives in Philadelphia.


A Special Memorial Issue of CounterPunch

Featuring recollections of Alexander Cockburn from Jeffrey St. Clair, Peter Linebaugh, Paul Craig Roberts, Noam Chomsky, Mike Whitney, Doug Peacock, Perry Anderson, Becky Grant, Dennis Kucinich, Michael Neumann, Susannah Hecht, P. Sainath, Ben Tripp, Alison Weir, James Ridgeway, JoAnn Wypijewski, John Strausbaugh, Pierre Sprey, Carolyn Cooke, Conn Hallinan, James Wolcott, Laura Flanders, Ken Silverstein, Tariq Ali and many others …

Subscribe to CounterPunch Today to Reserve Your Copy


Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

Weekend Edition
October 9-11, 2015
David Price – Roberto J. González
The Use and Abuse of Culture (and Children): The Human Terrain System’s Rationalization of Pedophilia in Afghanistan
Mike Whitney
Putin’s “Endgame” in Syria
Jason Hribal
The Tilikum Effect and the Downfall of SeaWorld
Gary Leupp
The Six Most Disastrous Interventions of the 21st Century
Andrew Levine
In Syria, Obama is Playing a Losing Game
Louis Proyect
The End of Academic Freedom in America: the Case of Steven Salaita
Rob Urie
Democrats, Neoliberalism and the TPP
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
The Bully Recalibrates: U.S. Signals Policy Shift in Syria
Brian Cloughley
Hospital Slaughter and the US/NATO Propaganda Machine
Paul Street
Hope in Abandonment: Cuba, Detroit, and Earth-Scientific Socialism
John Walsh
For Vietnam: Artemisinin From China, Agent Orange From America
John Wight
No Moral High Ground for the West on Syria
Robert Fantina
Canadian Universities vs. Israeli Apartheid
Conn Hallinan
Portugal: Europe’s Left Batting 1000
John Feffer
Mouths Wide Shut: Obama’s War on Whistleblowers
Paul Craig Roberts
The Impulsiveness of US Power
Ron Jacobs
The Murderer as American Hero
Alex Nunns
“A Movement Looking for a Home”: the Meaning of Jeremy Corbyn
Philippe Marlière
Class Struggle at Air France
Binoy Kampmark
Waiting in Vain for Moderation: Syria, Russia and Washington’s Problem
Paul Edwards
Empire of Disaster
Xanthe Hall
Nuclear Madness: NATO’s WMD ‘Sharing’ Must End
Margaret Knapke
These Salvadoran Women Went to Prison for Suffering Miscarriages
Uri Avnery
Abbas: the Leader Without Glory
Halima Hatimy
#BlackLivesMatter: Black Liberation or Black Liberal Distraction?
Michael Brenner
Kissinger Revisited
Cesar Chelala
The Perverse Rise of Killer Robots
Halyna Mokrushyna
On Ukraine’s ‘Incorrect’ Past
Jason Cone
Even Wars Have Rules: a Fact Sheet on the Bombing of Kunduz Hospital
Walter Brasch
Mass Murders are Good for Business
William Hadfield
Sophistry Rising: the Refugee Debate in Germany
Christopher Brauchli
Why the NRA Profits From Mass Shootings
Hadi Kobaysi
How The US Uses (Takfiri) Extremists
Pete Dolack
There is Still Time to Defeat the Trans-Pacific Partnership
Marc Norton
The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution
Andre Vltchek
Stop Millions of Western Immigrants!
David Rosen
If Donald Dump Was President
Dave Lindorff
America’s Latest War Crime
Ann Garrison
Sankarist Spirit Resurges in Burkina Faso
Franklin Lamb
Official Investigation Needed After Afghan Hospital Bombing
Linn Washington Jr.
Wrongs In Wine-Land
Ronald Bleier
Am I Drinking Enough Water? Sneezing’s A Clue
Charles R. Larson
Prelude to the Spanish Civil War: Eduard Mendoza’s “An Englishman in Madrid”
David Yearsley
Papal Pop and Circumstance
Christopher Washburn
Skeptik’s Lexicon