Romney releases tax return details

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has released his long-promised 2011 tax return, but the multi-millionaire has resisted pressure to release many more years of tax forms that would provide insights into his sprawling finances.

Mr Romney earned almost 13.7 million US dollars (£8.4 million) last year and paid more than 1.9 million US dollars (£1.17 million) in taxes - an effective tax rate of 14.1%. In 2010, Romney paid about 3 million US dollars (£1.85 million) in federal income taxes - or 13.9%.

By comparison, President Barack Obama's tax return shows he earned nearly 790,000 US dollars (£487,000) last year and paid an effective tax rate of almost 21%.

The tax release comes after a difficult week for Mr Romney in which a leaked, secretly-recorded video showed him saying nearly half of the country does not pay income taxes, supports Mr Obama and is dependent on government. "My job is not to worry about those people," he said in the video.

He has spent much of the week trying to soften those remarks while facing criticism from some fellow Republicans over the workings of his campaign. The race for the election remains tight, but Mr Obama holds a slight lead in recent polls and has pulled ahead in cash on hand for the crucial final campaign push.

Mr Romney's campaign officials said he and his wife Ann filed the tax return on Friday with the Internal Revenue Service, after receiving an extension. Most Americans faced a tax filing deadline of April 17 this year.

Democrats have long tried to make an issue of what Mr Romney pays in taxes and what he is willing to divulge about his investments, including overseas ones. Critics, including Mr Obama, have urged the Republican to follow his father's model. When George Romney ran for president in 1968, he set a precedent by releasing information on 12 years of tax returns.

Mitt Romney is refusing to follow suit. He has said he is following the example of Republican John McCain, who released just two years' worth of returns in his race against Mr Obama in 2008.

His campaign had promised to release his complete 2011 returns before the election on November 6. On Friday, Brad Malt, the trustee of the couple's blind trust, added that Mr Romney and his wife last year claimed a deduction for 2.25 million US dollars (£1.4 million) of their 4.021 million US dollars (£2.5 million) in charitable contributions. In the previous year, a large percentage of those contributions went to the Mormon Church.

Several tax law experts said Mr Romney's newly released tax returns would not be much help in uncovering the most persistent mysteries of his finances - whether he used aggressive tax-deferral strategies, the specifics and tax advantages of his numerous offshore investments, the source of his massive retirement account and the details behind his now-closed 3 million US dollars (£1.85 million) Swiss bank account.