A former top tax official in two Republicans administrations (Bush I and Bush II) is calling for Mitt Romney to release all of his tax returns. Columbia University tax law professor Michael Graetz raises the disturbing possibility that the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee systematically undervalued the gifts he made to his children and the deposits he made into his Individual Retirement Account, which would have postponed tax liabilities on capital gains for many decades. He also addresses the off-shore tax havens that have been prominently featured in President Obama’s ad campaign:
The one year’s tax returns that he has released raise doubt about his campaign’s claims that his offshore accounts did not save him one penny of tax. Putting business assets into an individual retirement account invested in a Cayman Islands corporation allows Mr. Romney to avoid the “unrelated business income tax” — a 35 percent levy — on at least some of his I.R.A.’s earnings, a tax that he would have had to pay if his I.R.A. were held directly by a financial institution in the United States. With an I.R.A. account of $20 million to $101 million, the tax savings would be more than a few pennies.
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