Mitt Romney said at a campaign event in South Carolina Thursday that he has paid at least a 13 percent tax rate over the past 10 years.
“I did go back and look at my taxes and over the past 10 years I never paid less than 13 percent," Romney told reporters. "I think the most recent year is 13.6 or something like that. So I paid taxes every single year," the Washington Post reported.
Romney's statement on his tax returns is his most direct explanation of his tax status so far in the campaign, and comes as the GOP candidate's first direct response to Obama and other Democrats' claims that he paid little or no taxes in previous years, according to the New York Times.
Senator Harry Reid of Nevada in particular has hammered Romney on the tax issue, saying that the former governor of Massachusetts used offshore tax shelters and other legal accounting measures to avoid paying taxes, the Times reported.
Romney has already dismissed these claims as false.
“Since there is substantial reason to doubt his claims, we have a simple message for him: prove it,”said Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith in a statement, ABC News reported. “...Given Mitt Romney’s secrecy about his returns, coupled with the revelations in just the one return we have seen to date and the inconsistencies between this one return and his other financial disclosures, he has forfeited the right to have us take him just at his word.”
Mitt Romney, who has an estimated net worth of up to $250 million, is one of the richest men to ever run for US President, according to Reuters.