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Mitt Romney Benefits From Tax Loophole Most Investors Oppose, Poll Finds

Carried Interest Tax Loophole

First Posted: 01/26/2012 5:54 pm Updated: 01/26/2012 5:54 pm

Apparently most global investors aren't please with the rules the led in part to Mitt Romney's low tax rate last year.

Two-thirds of global investors say that the tax break on carried interest -- a loophole that allows private equity managers to pay a lower tax rate on the interest on certain forms of income -- is unjustified, according to a Bloomberg poll of more than 1,000 investors. The cut is partially responsible for Romney's 13.9 percent on $21.6 million, even though the top marginal tax rate is 35 percent.

Romney, who along with his wife is worth an estimated $190 to $250 million, released his 2010 tax returns earlier this week after mounting pressure from opponents, reinvigorating a debate over how much America's richest taxpayers should fork over the government. Michigan Democrats Carl and Sander Levin announced that they're introducing legislation to close the carried interest loophole in their respective chambers, according to a separate Bloomberg report.

Romney will probably pay a tax rate of about 15.4 percent in 2011, according to his own projections, while the 13.9 percent rate he paid in 2010 is less than what someone making $500,000 is required to pay in taxes. It could be even lower. NBC news reported Thursday that Romney will revise his disclosure forms to account for additional overseas holdings.

And it's likely that Romney didn't pay any taxes on his investment income in 2009. Much of Romney's income comes from his retirement package from Bain Capital that he was likely able to offset from losses elsewhere in his portfolio, experts told The Huffington Post earlier this week.

Though the tax cuts that Romney took advantage of would probably benefit other super rich Americans, many of them don't necessarily favor keeping the loopholes in place. New York City Mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg said that he opposed the carried interest tax break after Romney released his tax returns, according to The New York Times. Billionaire investor Warren Buffett has also been an outspoken advocate of tax reform.

Additionally, 68 percent of millionaires said they supported increasing taxes on millionaires, according to an October survey from the Spectrum Group.

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Filed by Jillian Berman  |