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Since he won't release his tax returns, and does admit they'd be politically damaging, all we can do is guess.

This is one in a series of speculative diaries wondering what could possibly be worth the price he is paying by remaining secretive.

In honor of the Olympics, today's guess is about tax write-offs, such as the $75k write-off Willard and Ann took for a dressage horse. I imagine that examination of 12 years of returns would show many other examples of deductions which are not illegal, but also not available to 99.99% of American tax payers.

And raising that question is a threat not only to Romney's campaign, but to his entire entitled class.

Other diaries in the series.

Olympics corruptions
Medical expenses
Political contributions
Foreign investments
Church contributions exceed taxes

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (17+ / 0-)

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra En théorie, il n'y a aucune différence entre théorie et pratique, mais en pratique, il y a toujours une différence. - Yogi Berra

    by blue aardvark on Thu Jul 26, 2012 at 10:20:49 AM PDT

  •  Unlike Sherlock Holmes, Mitt prefers to (14+ / 0-)

    hide his brilliant deductions.

    Some drink deeply from the river of knowledge. Others only gargle. -- Woody Allen

    by cassandracarolina on Thu Jul 26, 2012 at 10:22:46 AM PDT

  •  Lots of writeoffs for (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mayim, blue aardvark, phonegery, ExStr8

    home related things that most Americans could never afford. (Taxpayers, thank you for subsidizing my car elevator!)

    Also, changing his state of residence depending on (a) where he wants to run for office from and (b) in later years at whichever home property taxes are lowest, so that might be Utah, New Hampshire or California, I'm not sure which.

  •  Mr Romney, release you taxes back to 1999, now! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tamar, blue aardvark, phonegery

    Thanks blue.

    The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by HoundDog on Thu Jul 26, 2012 at 10:27:59 AM PDT

  •  How's the Horse a Write-Off? (4+ / 0-)

    I recall from my sailing days that boats big enough to sleep on can be termed houses for some purposes.

    Is the horse considered a business?

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Jul 26, 2012 at 10:39:31 AM PDT

    •  I'd have to go look it up (0+ / 0-)

      I think it was an investment loss.

      In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra En théorie, il n'y a aucune différence entre théorie et pratique, mais en pratique, il y a toujours une différence. - Yogi Berra

      by blue aardvark on Thu Jul 26, 2012 at 10:40:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, I think (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blue aardvark

      the horse was a business expense as far as the owners were concerned and the Romneys share ownership of it.

      If only most of us could pretend our hobbies were a business and thus write off their cost.

    •  Gooserock - the dressage horse deduction (0+ / 0-)

      The horse, which is competing in the London Olympics, is owned by a partnership that is owned by Ann R and two other friends. The partnership is a business that buys, trains, and sells dressage horses. The partnership consists of more than the ownership of the Olympic horse Rafalca. Because it is formed as a partnership the gains or losses flow through to each of the owners of the partnership. The $77,000 represented that portion of losses allocated to Ann R and flowed through to the Romney's return. The loss is a passive loss and and Romney's were not able to use it in 2010, so it did not reduce their 2010 tax liability. It will be held in a tax loss carry forward until that point in time that the Romney's have passive gains to offset the passive loss or the partnership is deemed by the IRS as a hobby and all the deductions are disallowed.  

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Thu Jul 26, 2012 at 12:51:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Brian Williams gave Mitt perfect chance to deny (6+ / 0-)

    allegations he paid little or no taxes in some of those years and Romney PASSED!

    Brian Williams: But you know what happens in the real world Governor. People hear he's not going to release the rest of his returns and they wonder: WHY? They wonder is there a year there he didn't pay any taxes? They wonder about the expensive horses, and houses and what have you.

    I'll pit it another way: WHAT IS IT that is preventing you from from releasing the rest of your returns?? (emphasis from the original)

    Mitt Romney: Well one. I've released all the information about my financial holdings, that's required by law. And then in addition beyond the law I have released, or will release actually, when the last year finally is complete, two full years. And what we've noted is our Democrat friends, take what's there, twist it, distort it-- dishonestly use it in-- in attack ads. I just don't wanna give 'em more material than is required.

     Romney on NBC: Changing gun laws won't 'make all bad things go away'

    What does that tell you?

    "We don't need someone who can think. We need someone with enough digits to hold a pen." ~ Grover Norquist

    by Lefty Coaster on Thu Jul 26, 2012 at 10:40:49 AM PDT

    •  Wow (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blue aardvark, Aspe4

      Oh how I wish some Democrat who works for his accountant would anonymously leak them...

      Where's Julian Assange when you need him?!

      •  I'm just wondering if someone (2+ / 0-)

        from Team McCain may have already leaked them ... to Team Obama.

        How would you like to be Obama with 23 years of Romney's returns under lock and key, waiting for strategic leak opportunities?

        In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra En théorie, il n'y a aucune différence entre théorie et pratique, mais en pratique, il y a toujours une différence. - Yogi Berra

        by blue aardvark on Thu Jul 26, 2012 at 10:48:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't know (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blue aardvark, Aspe4, phonegery

          Isn't it probably against the law to leak them?

          I am actually kind of skeptical that anyone on Team McCain bothered to look through them very closely considering how "well" they "vetted" Teh Sarah. Although maybe more recently one of them re-opened that file and had another peek.

        •  No, rumors are better. Here's another one: (5+ / 0-)

          Based on Anne being already on record for saying her husband does not know how many horses she owns, I'd like to posit that Mitt is hiding a great deal from Anne. He writes her a check for her birthday (along with buying her that red dress), but just suppose he's the kind of guy who tells his wife, "I pay professionals to worry about the tax things. Just do not worry. Sign here." By the way, I find it odd that Anne's Swiss bank account was closed (we are guessing from the UBS scandal and amnesty). Where are Mitt's Swiss accounts, plural?  Converted to the more secret Lichtenstein, which is now coming under at least some scrutiny. He pointedly didn't answer that question when asked recently.

        •  blue a - it's a felony to disclose them (0+ / 0-)

          My guess is that the McCain team was invited to send experts to Boston to review the Romney returns at PriceWaterhouseCoopers at the PWC offices. Those experts representing McCain signed very tough confidentiality agreements with real teeth. The returns never left the PWC offices and a senior PWC partner, and other staff, were with the McCain experts the entire time they were with the returns to answer questions and the McCain experts were never left alone with the files. No documents were copied and no files ever left the PWC offices. There are no Romney tax files in the custody of anyone from the McCain campaign.

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Thu Jul 26, 2012 at 01:02:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  pat - it's a felony to disclose tax info (1+ / 0-)

        It does not matter if you are a tax accountant, CPA, tax lawyer, or IRS employee, the disclosure of tax information seems to be more confidential than secret DoD information. Everyone in the tax business not only understands that it is a felony to disclose the information but that they would put their firm out of business, and cost all of their colleagues their jobs and maybe careers, if a client's returns became public.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Thu Jul 26, 2012 at 12:56:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Item (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    edrie, MKinTN, VClib

    Diary states:

    In honor of the Olympics, today's guess is about tax write-offs, such as the $75k write-off Willard and Ann took for a dressage horse.
    Actually, the Romney's did not take a 75,000 write-off. They reported passive losses of about $78,000, of which all but $50 was disallowed.

    Explanation below.

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/...

    The New York Times report led Matt Yglesias and some others to conclude, mistakenly, that the Romneys had taken a tax deduction for the full amount of their loss. That's not actually true.

    When taxpayers report a loss, they aren't always able to take a deduction for it. The Romney's 2010 tax return (above) shows that the lion's share of the $77,731 "Rob Rom Enterprises" loss was, in the parlance of the tax code, "disallowed." That is, it wasn't eligible for a deduction in the 2010 tax year. The Romneys' actual "allowable loss"--the part that could be used for a deduction that year--was $50 (only 0.06% of the total declared loss).

    The Romneys' return doesn't spell out exactly why their Rafalca loss was disallowed, but there is one likely explanation: The tax code doesn't typically allow the taxpayer to take general deductions for expenses on activities that the taxpayer doesn't undertake for a profit; these are called "hobby losses" and they can usually only be used to offset any incidental income the taxpayer gets from the same activity.

    For example, if your sister--who, say, pilots fighter jets for a living--sells one of the watercolors she paints in her spare time, she could then deduct the cost of the paper and the pigments, but only up to the amount that she sold the artwork for. If the Romneys are treating their Rafalca expenses as hobby losses, their tax return is indicating that they lost nearly $78,000 caring for the horse and got only about $50 back as income.

    •  thank you SO much for this - and for reporting (0+ / 0-)

      that they were not allowed to "profit" off the horse.

      that they even tried is so sickening - i can't help but wonder how many other bogus deductions they claim to try to beat out paying taxes for the roads over which they cruise in their caddys.

  •  I Think Romney Hid Money Offshore (5+ / 0-)

    and took advantage of the 2009 IRS amnesty to avoid criminal prosecution. While technically, the law forgave him, he was still breaking it prior. A president as a tax cheat? That strikes a nerve with all tax payers because us little guys have to follow the rules.

    "The problem with posting quotes off the Internet is you never know if they're genuine."--Gen. George Washington at the Battle of Gettysburg, February 30, 1908

    by Aspe4 on Thu Jul 26, 2012 at 11:10:37 AM PDT

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