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

Today's idea: He's been audited repeatedly, and had to pay the IRS fines more than once. We know when he was on the board and in charge of taxes for Marriott corporation they wound up paying back taxes several times; we also know that in the one partial return he has released (2010) he went right up to the limit per some sources ... and that's a form he planned on releasing.

So, suppose that an examination of Romney's back taxes reveals having to settle with the IRS after an audit.

Once? Meh.
Twice? A couple of days worth of news.
Three? Pattern of behavior.
More than three? A persistent issue throughout the rest of the campaign - Mitt Romney, tax dodger.

And based on what we do know, I'm betting on more than three.

Other diaries in the series.

Lots of bad investments
Partnerships with bad people
How he got $100M in his IRA
He didn't tithe
Nothing, he's just pathologically secretive
Hiding stuff from Ann Romney
Rich people write-offs
Olympics corruptions
Medical expenses
Political contributions
Foreign investments
Church contributions exceed taxes

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Comment Preferences

  •  Romney could whip those suckers (12+ / 0-)

    out and shut Harry Reid up in 2 seconds.  

    That he doesn't -- and that he admits what's in the returns is politically damaging -- invites us to speculate that it could be serial tax dodging -- or extremely toxic investments in the sort of enterprises the Far Right would not care for.  

    The issue is a problem for Romney's campaign because there appears to be nothing he can do to make it go away.  

    My guess is that it's a really bad thing, possibly enough to cost him the nomination.  

    I wonder if Rick Santorum's strategists know anything about this.  

    Tampa could be quite a bit of fun for us blue-votin' folks watchin' on the tv machine.

  •  My dos centavos (8+ / 0-)

    I think it's pretty obvious what's going on, if you know the players.  

    Notice how Romney says "I've paid a lot of taxes," not "I've paid a lot of INCOME taxes."  Sure, he's paid sales and property tax, but as for income tax - he's no doubt taken all his deductions and received a refund for damn near everything he's paid.  

    That's important because this is a guy arguing that the rich need a tax cut so they can stimulate jobs - if it turns out the rich don't pay any tax already and they're still not creating jobs, his whole economic position is just a lie.  

    As we already know it is.  

    Secondly, I would bet you that if Reid's source is legit - that is, he's not just stirring the pot or getting info from a mole at the IRS - that the person is John Huntsman.  Huntsman hates Romney with a passion and has a lifelong rivalry - and his family has been heavily involved with Bain capital.  

    Huntsman would be a position not only through his ties to Bain but through his ties to the McCain campaign to know the exact contents of Romney's returns.  Further, because of his portfolio ties to Bain, he can hide behind the "Bain investor" shield.  

    Huntsman has a bigger motive than anyone else in the GOP to bring down Romney.  

    No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices. - Edward R. Murrow

    by CrazyHorse on Mon Aug 06, 2012 at 07:05:21 AM PDT

  •  'Harry Reid is a liar' just blows past the entire (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Remediator, blue aardvark, ExStr8

    point.....'I'm Mitt Romney, and you can go fuck yourself.'

  •  we will never know (5+ / 0-)

    Looks like Romney would rather lose the election than release his taxes. Could just be that he thinks if he releases the taxes now it will look like weakness.
    Maybe Romney realizes he is going to lose and doesn't want everyone knowing his financial business. Either way he is doomed.

  •  I believe it is a number of these bombs. (5+ / 0-)

    . Using the tax code as the ultra rich do to pay less tax than a married couple with children earning say, 39,000 a year  paying their 10 or 15% a year total. (as a % of their income).

    Using all kinds of sweet loopholes to shield the majority of unearned income, essentially tax free investing.

    Show a pattern of increasing income from overseas investments from formerly American companies, now relocated abroad.   Show a trend of making more money, more investments abroad, even as investments in the USA are reduced.

    Tax writeoffs for closing companies. It made more sense for Bain to show a "loss" by moving he company.  The very thing that encourages companies in our tax code to abandon America with the rest of us paying them to do it!

    Using the losses in the market in 2008 to wipe out his tax burden in the folllowing years, essentially get a pass on taxes on money he wouldn't have otherwise been shielding.

    Compare a simple return like Obama's which the vast majority of American taxpayers can understand immediately, with the labyrinth and clever games played by the ultra rich like Romney to essentially shield the money flow from any meaningful tax and continue to loot the system and increase the burden on the middle and working classes.

    Whenever Romney exposes his returns, maybe in the last few days prior to the elections, all this will be out there.  

    Will people notice at that point?  

    The first guy running for President as a buccaneer, a looter, a predatory capitalistic conman as his credentials for leadership.

    This signature....is currently under construction..

    by BeeDeeS on Mon Aug 06, 2012 at 07:20:14 AM PDT

  •  Others (0+ / 0-)

    1) tax returns show investments or ownership of politically unacceptable businesses (abortion clinics, Fox news, al-Jazerra news, chinese pharmaceutical and dry-wall manufacturers, porn industry, companies that rip off veterans, etc)

    2) tax returns show that Romney did not meet residency eligibilty requirements set forth in Mass. state constitution to be Mass. state governor.  

    "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

    by Hugh Jim Bissell on Mon Aug 06, 2012 at 07:31:24 AM PDT

  •  Why this is one of the most likely of several (0+ / 0-)

    possibilities . . .

    It fits with statements Romney made.  He said he paid the legal amount, and he also said he was audited several times.  

    It may fit with what Harry Reid or Harry Reid's accusation could be a partial fit.

    If he was audited it would explain why someone connected with Bain would also know about it.  Romney would have probably asked Bain for some records that he needed to produce for the IRS.  He, or someone on his staff, may have explained that the records were needed to respond to an IRS request.  

    What's intriguing about this possibility is the idea that Romney could have filed a return claiming zero tax liability each year for 10 years.  Could it be he's a closet tax resister?  I think someone in his position could actually get away with just such a cat and mouse game with the IRS, especially if he pays in full each time, immediately upon request, which he certain can afford to do.

    "Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves." - Abraham Lincoln

    by leftreborn on Mon Aug 06, 2012 at 07:42:55 AM PDT

  •  Maybe it's gambling losses??? (0+ / 0-)

    I don't really mean this, but on the other hand, with all the secrecy, why the hell isn't it possible as well?  Why not?  Simply because he is supposedly so religious??

    We all witnessed him attempting to place a 10-G bet with rick perry.  Why should we assume he was kidding about that?

    Maybe he gambles heavily and for several years he won a bundle, and used masses of (fake* or otherwise) gambling losses to offset his winnings????  Why not?  It's as valid as any other speculation.

    *I can't see Mitt crawling on the floor at the track to scoop up trashed losing tickets for the offsets.  Perhaps he paid common folk to crawl around and scoop for him.

    Aldus Shrugged : The Antidote to Ayn Rand. @floydbluealdus1

    by Floyd Blue on Mon Aug 06, 2012 at 08:00:11 AM PDT

  •  I don't think the IRS has the (0+ / 0-)

    resources to audit Romney. I don't think anyone approaching his net worth is ever audited, because it will be tied up in courts for years.

    "A cynical, mercenary, demagogic press will produce in time a people as base as itself." - Joseph Pulitzer

    by CFAmick on Mon Aug 06, 2012 at 09:22:45 AM PDT

  •  My 2 cents... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    renzo capetti

    Swiss bank account amnesty. I think Matt Yglesias has it right - Romney almost certainly illegally funneled wealth into offshore accounts. Swiss banking giant UBS was forced to provide information on private tax evaders.  Romney probably paid up when offered a choice between fines and amnesty. If this is the case, Romney is probably no longer criminally liable, but clearly has a record of breaking the law to avoid paying his share.

    Wealthy U.S. taxpayers, concerned about an Internal Revenue Service crackdown on the use of secret overseas bank accounts as tax havens, are rushing to meet a Thursday deadline to disclose those accounts or face possible criminal prosecution. The concern was triggered this summer when Switzerland's largest bank, caught up in an international tax evasion dispute, said it would disclose the names of more than 4,000 of its U.S. account holders.

    The decision shattered a long-held belief that Swiss banks would guard the identities of its American customers as carefully as they did their money, and it raised concern that other international tax havens might be next. Under an amnesty program, the IRS is allowing taxpayers to avoid prosecution for having failed to report their overseas accounts. As a result, tax attorneys across the nation have been besieged by wealthy clients who are lining up to apply even though they will still face big financial penalties.

    http://www.slate.com/...

    I think that his private fortune is greater than he is reporting, and that some of it is still hidden in offshore accounts. There probably won't be direct evidence of this in his tax returns, unless a clever Boston Globe reporter can determine that some of the funds he was paid in various bust-out schemes outside of the United States never made it through any US bank.  That's possible - he is alleged to have made $50 million in the bust-out of the Italian yellow pages company.  

    “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

    by ivorybill on Mon Aug 06, 2012 at 09:50:40 AM PDT

  •  To Be Fair, I Think He's Guilty Until (0+ / 0-)

    Proven guilty, culpable, at fault, lacking, dead to rights, caught; had premeditated intent, motive and opportunity, 99.9 pct DNA match:
    Looks like a duck, acts like a duck, walks like a duck, talks like a duck, splashes like a duck and ducks like a duck. And, if u remember those shifty Bushes, lives here, votes there, runs for office somewhere else, has a house evry 10 miles, lies in his sleep, has the sensitivity of a dusty rock; and pretends like he won't watch his wife's horse's ass.
    Come on!
    Thanks for this extremely well researched stack of suspicions and innuendos. Very conclusive and unassailable. Really.

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