Romney’s 2011 Income: 44% from Foreign Investments

New Disclosure Form

Starting in 2011, taxpayers with overseas and other financial investments were required to report those assets on Form 8938.  Because of this new reporting requirement, we learned that of the $13.7 million in adjusted gross income earned in 2011 by Mitt and Ann Romney, $6 million (44%) was traceable to foreign investments.

 Huge Tax Break

According to his Form 8938 disclosure, Romney received $4.5 million in foreign capital gains 1, taxed at 15% federal and $1.5 million in foreign dividends.  Using a typical dividend return rate of 2-3%, this would indicate between $50 million and 75 million invested overseas.  In addition, $6 million in cash was held in foreign entities.

 No Policy Rationale

What is the tax policy rationale for allowing favored capital gains rates on gains earned on foreign investments?  How does this tax break create wealth and jobs in the U.S.?  Of course, the answer is that politics, not rationale tax policy, governs this undeserved and harmful tax break that serves no purpose other than to divert needed tax dollars into the pockets of the ultra-rich.

 Conclusion

So now we have a presidential candidate who earned almost half his income from foreign investments and received a substantial tax break in the process. The solution: eliminate the 15% federal capital gains tax rate for foreign investment income, as well as other loopholes exploited by foreign hedge funds and investment partnerships.

  1. Note: Romeny had $9 million in capital gains and 2.3 million in U.S.-source capital losses, providing a net capital gain of $6.7 million, $4.5 million of which were foreign gains
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