And the answer is 92,690. I checked my calculations several times and I am certain this is correct.
You may ask, “What was the question?” So here it is:
“What is the grand total of all the numbered IRS forms which Mitt Romney and his wife Ann had to include in their 2011 Individual Income Tax Return in order to comply with the Internal Revenue Code for filing?”
Yes the Romneys, with the assistance of Price Waterhouse Coopers had to file fifteen separate forms, each bearing its special IRS identification number and if you add the numbers on the forms up you get 92,690. (In addition there was an alphabet soup of other forms included). The total number of pages for this return was 104.
I have to admit that my favorite was Form 8082. It is entitled, “Notice of Inconsistent Treatment or Administrative Adjustment Request (AAR).” What in the name of all that is holy does that even mean? Was this form invented by a psychopath whose real goal in life is to confuse us with his mind games?
But back to our subject …
While this number of pages might not have been sufficient to call for the downing of one of the ancient redwoods in the Pacific Northwest, I suspect the axe fell on at least one small birch or elm to provide the sacrifice and the paper to complete the return.
If you choose to review the return you will find out something we already knew. Mr. and Mrs. Romney are successful people – at least as far as we measure success by the amount of money a person earns. They reported an Adjusted Gross Income of $20,908,000 for year 2011 and paid Federal Income Tax in the amount of $3,227,000 on that.
I can hear the groans from the left of the auditorium. That is only 15.4% of their income paid in tax. That doesn’t seem fair when the average taxpayer pays at a higher effective tax rate. Much could be said in favor of that point of view. A flat tax would make it “fair” in an absolute sense for each of us. We would all pay the same rate.
However, the problem with that is that paying 15% of your income as a minimum wage earner has a far more dramatic effect on your ability to live than it does for a person who earns millions per year. (And I think we would get a lot of flak from CPA firms like Price Waterhouse Coopers, not to mention all the folks at IRS who suddenly would be out of a job).
There is one other item in the Romneys’ return that I would like to point out to my readers. They voluntarily donated $4,020,680 to charity. Their $3 Million payment in tax was compulsory. Their donation of $4 Million was voluntary. If you consider both of these in toto as a “payment to American society” – the percentage of their income which they handed over to others represents 34.6% of their income.
One of the allegations leveled against candidate-presumptive Romney is that as a wealthy man he has no concern for the ordinary person. The amount of his and his wife’s charitable donations suggest otherwise.
I did the math. Feel free to check my figures.