Wednesday, July 18, 2012

the downside of being mitt romney's CPA

The political hubbub this week has focused on getting Mitt Romney to release more of his prior-year tax returns.  He refuses to do so, even though many of his fellow Republicans are urging him to just bite bullet and get it over with, and the more he refuses, the more people think there is something embarrassing or at least politically uncomfortable in those returns.

As a CPA, I say, just do it, dude.  Nobody understands tax returns anyway.  So what if you had your money stashed in the Cayman Islands?  Your political base probably thinks the Caymans are in the U.S. anyway!

When they were released back early this year, I did look over Mitt's 2010 and estimated-2011 returns (or should we call him by his first name -- Willard?.. which reminds me, do you remember that '70s movie Willard, about the guy who loved rats?).  They are fairly complex returns.  Most people who only have W-2 income and file a 1040-EZ probably would be overwhelmed by them.  Interesting notes from those returns:  his income is about $21 million each year; he has zero W-2 income; he has about $4 million annually just in interest income (Do you realize how much investment assets it takes to generate $4 million in interest these days?).

His CPAs:  Pricewaterhousecoopers, one of the Big Four CPA giants, for which I have no love.  These returns will undergo rigorous scrutiny -- I hope they had extensive internal review at PWC before Willard and Ann signed.  And I hope that no clients of mine ever run for President!

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