Romney's tax returns show how laws favor wealthy


c.2012 New York Times News Service

Mitt Romney and his wife, Ann, made $27 million in 2010. They held millions of dollars in a Swiss bank account and millions more in partnerships in the Cayman Islands. His family's trusts sold thousands of shares in Goldman Sachs that were offered to favored clients when the storied investment house went public. The couple's effective federal tax rate for the year worked out to 13.9 percent, a rate typical of households earning about $80,000 a year.

Yet the hundreds of pages of tax documents released by Romney's campaign Tuesday morning did not readily reveal any elaborate financial legerdemain or exotic tax shelters. What Romney's returns illustrated, instead, was the array of perfectly ordinary ways in which the U.S. tax code confers advantages on the rich, allowing Romney to amass wealth under rules very different from those faced by most Americans who take home a paycheck.