Bloomberg News

Santorum Federal Tax Rate Topped 27 Percent for Past Three Years

February 21, 2012

(For more campaign coverage, see ELECT.)

Feb. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum paid more than 27 percent of his adjusted gross income in federal taxes each of the past three years, according to tax returns he released.

Santorum, who earned most of his income from what he listed as “consulting and speaking” in 2010, paid taxes at rates from 2008 through 2010 that were about double the 13.9 percent effective rate presidential rival Mitt Romney paid that year on $21.6 million in income. Santorum released his tax returns last night.

Santorum, a former senator from Pennsylvania, provided returns from 2007 through 2010, the period after he lost his 2006 re-election bid. He deducted $5,142 in moving expenses in 2007. The whited-out address visible on the returns as they load on the Internet is in Great Falls, Virginia, just outside Washington.

Santorum, 53, has emerged in the past few weeks as the main challenger to Romney. Recent polls have shown Santorum leading Romney in Michigan, which holds its primary on Feb. 28.

Santorum’s income has increased over the past few years. In 2009, he and his wife, Karen, reported $659,637 in adjusted gross income. They reported income of $945,100 in 2008 and $1,116,736 in 2009.

The returns were first reported by Politico.

Relatively Steady

Their tax rate stayed relatively steady, reaching a minimum of 25.4 percent in 2007 and hitting a maximum of 28.5 percent in 2010.

The returns present a “stark contrast” to Romney because the Santorums received virtually no benefit from preferential tax rates on dividends and long-term capital gains, said Anthony Nitti, a tax partner at WithumSmith & Brown in Aspen, Colorado.

“He just doesn’t appear to be a player in the stock market in any way, shape or form,” Nitti said. “All of his income is essentially earned income, taxed at his maximum rate.”

Santorum’s financial disclosure forms show that he has stock holdings inside individual retirement accounts.

The Santorums, who have seven children, contributed $16,289 to charity in 2010, or 1.8 percent of their adjusted gross income. The returns released last night don’t list the recipients of those donations.

Rental Income

Santorum and his wife received income from rental condominiums and spent $59,322 on household help in 2010.

Mitt and Ann Romney contributed 13.8 percent of their income to charity in 2010. The Romneys have released only a 2010 return and an estimated 2011 return.

The Santorums deducted $84,943 in mortgage interest in 2009, an amount that Nitti said stretches the limits of what is possible under the cap of $1.1 million in indebtedness.

In 2009, the Santorums received a $945 tax credit for spending $3,151 on energy-efficient exterior windows and skylights. The tax break was part of the stimulus law championed by President Barack Obama that Republicans opposed.

Santorum said on his returns that they were self-prepared. In 2009 and 2010, Santorum paid a total of $925 in penalties for not having enough taxes withheld or not paying enough estimated taxes.

--Editors: Jodi Schneider, Jim Rubin

To contact the reporter on this story: Richard Rubin in Washington at rrubin12@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jodi Schneider at jschneider50@bloomberg.net


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