Romneys and 2011 Tax Returns

September 21, 2012

Willard M. Romney
3 Cottage Road
Belmont, MA 02478

Dear Mr. Romney:

I think I am one of many U.S. taxpayers and voters who really admire and appreciate your release of your personal federal tax return for 2011.

Although it seems to be very long (379 pages?), I’m sure you wanted to ensure that every detail was disclosed so there can be no doubt or challenge to your transparency.

Despite your best intentions, I found as I reviewed each page in your return a number of questions and/or omissions.

The majority of the pages of your 2011 return pertain to Form 8621 reporting. In virtually every case, the preparer tells us, “…the number of shares is unknown.”

Now, I know if this tax preparer worked for me, I would have said, “Well, did you call them to get the number of shares? After all of this extra time we’ve taken to file, don’t you think it would be nice to be able to provide this information?”

As I kept reading through this 379 page document, I could only think that if an accounting firm was presenting this to me, I’d be angry.

I would accuse them of waste, at least. And, I’d be really concerned that maybe they were ‘padding the bill’.

I was tempted to think that this was a creative example of obfuscation, but I’m sure that’s not what you had in mind at all.

I think you need to have a long and serious talk with the folks at Price Waterhouse Coopers. They may have let you down.

Worse than just their seemingly excessive production of paper, it looks as though there may be some computational errors – particularly in the areas of itemized deductions and AMT calculations – that won’t stand the test of scrutiny.

I know you didn’t intend for that, but you did earn both a Harvard JD and MBA, so most people will expect that you would be able to differentiate between compliance with the U.S. tax laws, and stretching them to test the limits.

Again, thank you for disclosing. I know you are very busy, and I certainly will forgive you for not having had the time to do a complete and thorough review of all of the details.

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