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Romney tax returns: What’s missing in his report?

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No, says the Romney campaign in a “frequently asked questions” site about the 2011 return released Friday:

“The investments by the blind trusts in funds established in the Cayman Islands or other jurisdictions are taxed in the very same way they would be if the shares were held in the US rather than through a Cayman fund. No taxes are evaded or reduced. These funds are all registered with the IRS and report all income to investors and the IRS, just like domestic funds. Whether in Bermuda or Boston or elsewhere, there is no difference in how they are taxed.”

Well, maybe.

“The taxes you evade by putting your money in the Caymans aren’t your own personal income taxes, but your offshore investment fund’s corporate income taxes,” writes Timothy Noah in The New Republic. “In other words, the Romneys aren’t evading income taxes by putting their money in the Caymans. The fund they put their money into is evading taxes by parking itself in the Cayman Islands. As a result, that fund (and therefore the Romneys) get to keep more of the profits. Why evade taxes when you can get somebody to do it for you?”

In any case, Stanford University law school professor and tax law expert Joseph Bankman told the Associated Press, "It's the Bain years we'd really need to know to have a full assessment of his tax strategies." Releasing details for 2010 and 2011, Mr. Bankman said, "only raised these questions, but they can't provide real answers."

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