“Sometime in the next six months, and prior to the election, Gov. Romney will file and release the 2011 return when there is sufficient information to provide an accurate return,” Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul wrote in an email to reporters.
The announcement comes as President Obama and his wife, Michelle, released their joint 2011 tax return, along with the prior 11 years, although those had already been made public, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Obama and his wife, Michelle, paid a 20.5 percent federal tax rate on $789,674 in adjusted gross income for 2011. Bloomberg reports that Obama, who is paid a $400,000 annual salary as president, received most of the rest of his income from sales of his books.
The Obamas’ earnings fell by nearly $1m during the previous year because sales of the president’s bestselling books declined. The first couple paid $162,074 in income tax. They also donated a similar amount to 39 charities.
The White House acknowledged that the president believes he should pay more tax.
“Under the president’s own tax proposals, including the expiration of the high-income tax cuts and limitations on the value of tax preferences for high-income households, he would pay more in taxes while ensuring we cut taxes for the middle class and those trying to get in it,” it said.
The vice-president, Joe Biden, and his wife, Jill, paid tax at 23% on income of $379,035.
Obama campaign officials have urged Romney to release 23 years of tax returns.
“Gov. Romney has yet to provide tax returns from the period in which he made hundreds of millions as a corporate buyout specialist, or as governor of Massachusetts, the experience he says qualifies him to be president,” Jim Messina, Obama’s re-election campaign manager, said in a statement Friday.
David Plouffe, a senior adviser to President Obama, said Mitt Romney should release decades of back tax returns, framing the issue of as one of “transparency and trust” that will help define the choice for voters in November.
“If he’s got nothing to hide, then there’s nothing to lose,” Plouffe said in an interview this weekend.
The returns are “just sitting in a box or vault or something,” Plouffe said. “The American people want to have trust in their leaders,” he said.
Mitt Romney released his 2010 tax return in January following sharp criticism. The returns showed income of $21.7 million in 2010 and an effective tax rate of 13.9 percent, which is far lower than middle-class earners.
The Romneys paid the lower rate because their income was entirely from investments, as opposed to wages. The Romneys have a net worth $190 million to $250 million.
The release of the returns by The Obamas and The Bidens was politically charged because the president has built part of his re-election campaign around accusing the Republicans of giving millionaires tax breaks paid for by cutting services to the less well off.
Barack Obama has been campaigning for the imposition of the “Buffett rule” that would see those earning more than $1m a year, whether from salary or investments, pay tax at a rate of at least 30%, according to Guardian.
The rule is named after the business magnate, Warren Buffet, who called for the rich to pay more to the treasury because he said it is wrong that he should be taxed at a lower rate than his secretary.