On average, middle-income families — those making from $50,000 to $75,000 a year — pay 12.8 percent of their income in federal taxes, according to Congress' Joint Committee on Taxation. But many pay a higher rate.
Romney is aggressively competing with Obama for the support of middle-class voters.
Obama's tax return for last year showed that he and his wife, Michelle, paid $162,074 in federal taxes on $789,674 in adjusted gross income, an effective tax rate of 20.5 percent. Their income plunged from $1.7 million in 2010, with declining sales of the president's books. In 2009, the Obamas reported income of $5.5 million, fueled by the best-selling books.
The Romneys' tax bill could have been lower. They gave $2.6 million in cash to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the documents show. They gave just over $2 million in noncash charitable contributions, including donations of stock holdings in Domino's Pizza, Dunkin Donuts and Warner Chilcott, to a family trust.
"It's interesting he didn't take the full charitable deduction," said Victor Fleischer, a University of Colorado law professor who has testified before Congress urging tightened oversight of private equity firms. "You're in a pretty lucky position when you can pay more tax" to get up to a 13 percent rate. Fleischer and several others said it was doubtful Romney could later take any unclaimed deductions in future years.
The Romneys had obtained a filing extension beyond the usual April 15 tax deadline.
Most of their income is from investments held in a blind trust, and campaign aides have stressed that he makes no decisions on how his money is invested. Capital gains and dividend interest is now generally taxed at 15 percent whereas the top marginal rate for income from wages is 35 percent.
The Romneys reported $6.8 million in capital gains, such as from the sale of stocks and other securities, and $6.37 million from dividends and taxable interest.
Several tax law experts said the newly released tax returns would not be much help in resolving critics' questions about his finances: whether he used aggressive tax-deferral strategies, what might be the specifics and tax advantages of his numerous offshore investments, what was the source of his massive retirement account and what are the details behind his now-closed $3 million Swiss bank account.
Analysts said details about his investments could emerge only if Romney provided far more of his tax returns, including files dating back to his years at Bain, the private firm he left in 2001. Romney, who initially refused to disclose any tax returns, has drawn the line at providing those from the past two years.
The Republican vice presidential nominee, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, and his wife, Janna, whose returns were also released Friday by the Romney campaign, paid $64,764 in taxes on $323,416 of adjusted gross income in 2011, for an effective rate of 20 percent.
Just over half of their income came from Ryan's congressional salary. Other income flowed from rental real estate and other investments, including a trust inherited by Janna Ryan. They donated $12,991 to charity, including to the Boy Scouts of America
Associated Press writers Stephen Braun, Steve Peoples, Stephen Ohlemacher, Kasie Hunt and Philip Elliott contributed to this report.
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