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Mitt Romney releases 2011 tax return

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has released his much-anticipated 2011 tax return, which shows he paid a rate of 14.1%.

Mitt Romney paid $1.9 million in taxes in 2011, on $13.7 million of income.

The private equity tycoon has already released his 2010 tax return, for which he paid about $3 million, a 13.9% rate.

The top rate of income tax in the US is 35%, but Mitt Romney lives mainly on income derived from his investments, for which only 15% tax is payable.

Critics, including President Barack Obama, whom Mitt Romney will challenge for the White House in November, have called on him to release more tax returns.

Mitt Romney has released his much-anticipated 2011 tax return

Mitt Romney has released his much-anticipated 2011 tax return

Mitt Romney’s 2011 tax rate of 14.1% compares with a previous estimate of 15.4% for the year by his aides. The Romneys filed their 2011 return with the Internal Revenue Service on Friday after applying for an extension earlier in the year.

The campaign also released a letter from his accountants with a summary of his returns from 1990-2009, which said he paid an effective average of 20.2% over the period, with the lowest return at 13.66%.

The move came amid attempts by the Romney campaign to shift the focus of recent days away from remarks he made at a private donor dinner.

In the video secretly recorded earlier this year, he disparages Barack Obama voters, saying they pay no income tax.

Mitt Romney’s critics say he should follow the example of his father, former Michigan Governor George Romney, who released a dozen years of tax returns during his own unsuccessful run for president in 1968.

But the former Massachusetts governor has said he is following 2008 Republican White House candidate John McCain’s example of releasing two years of taxes.

Barack Obama’s 2011 tax return showed he paid an effective rate of 20.5%, on an income of $789,674.

On average, US middle-income families, those making from $50,000 to $75,000 a year, pay 12.8%, according to congressional research.

As he released his 2010 return in January this year, Mitt Romney said he had paid “all the taxes that are legally required and not a dollar more”.

But according to Brad Malt, the trustee that controls Mitt Romney’s wealth as he runs for president, the Romneys donated $4 million to charity in 2011, claiming $2.25 million of it as a deduction.

“The Romneys thus limited their deduction of charitable contributions to conform to the Governor’s statement in August, based upon the January estimate of income, that he paid at least 13% in income taxes in each of the last 10 years,” Brad Malt said.

The campaign has stressed that the blind trust run by Brad Malt means that the candidate is making no decisions on how his money is invested.

Tax law experts say the release of the 2011 return – and the summary of the past 20 years – will do little to silence questions about Mitt Romney’s past tax liability, including the source of a $100 million retirement account and the tax advantages of his offshore investments.