Just hours after debating tax rates during the GOP debate in Florida, Mitt Romney released his tax returns, revealing that he collected $20.9 million in income last year, and $21.7 million the previous year—nearly all of it in profits, dividends, or interest from investments. None came from wages, reports the Washington Post. He estimates he'll pay $3.2 million in federal taxes for a tax rate of 15.4% for last year's income. The previous year, he paid $3 million in taxes at a 13.9% rate. His tax rates are below most American wage earners because his income isn't from wages, notes Reuters. The Romneys gave away $7 million in charitable contributions the last two years, including $4.1 million to the Mormon church.
Romney boasted during the debate that his tax bill is "entirely legal and fair," adding: "I'm proud of the fact that I pay a lot of taxes." Newt Gingrich, who supports a 15% flat tax, quipped during the debate that he wants to bring Americans' tax rate "down" to Romney's. But Romney pointed out that Gingrich wants a 0% tax on capital gains, and that under such a strategy, he would pay "no taxes." Romney has released nearly 550 pages of tax documents, including the 2010 returns for three family trusts and a foundation, after criticism from rivals for failure to bare his income earlier and following a sound trouncing in South Carolina by Gingrich. (Read more Mitt Romney stories.)