10/29/2012 09:59 am ET

Mitt Romney Reportedly Avoids Taxes Through Mormon Church Trust

Mitt Romney has been employing yet another strategy to avoid paying taxes, according to a new report.

Romney legally avoided paying taxes through a charitable remainder unitrust he set up with the Mormon Church in 1996, Bloomberg News' Jesse Drucker reports.

The trust, which is only a small fraction of Romney's $250 million net worth, has been paying Romney 8 percent of its assets every year, according to Bloomberg. Since charities, including the Mormon Church, are tax-exempt, Romney hasn't paid taxes on the money for more than 15 years. The Romney campaign declined to respond to questions from Bloomberg and only said through a spokeswoman that "the trust has operated in accordance with the law."

You can read the full report in Bloomberg News here.

Romney has reportedly sidestepped taxes in other ways. He has been avoiding gift and estate taxes through a trust that he set up for his children and grandchildren, according to a separate Bloomberg report. He also holds a Swiss bank account and investments abroad, including in the Cayman Islands, where he does not need to pay U.S. taxes. In addition, Romney avoided taxes by playing an "active" role at Bain Capital even after he had retired, according The Huffington Post.

Romney paid just a 14 percent tax rate in 2010 and 2011 and has refused to release earlier tax returns. His taxes have become a source of contention on the campaign trail, as the 14 percent rate is lower than that of many middle-class Americans.

Meanwhile, Romney has come under fire for proposing a tax plan that some analysts say doesn't add up. Romney has proposed slashing marginal tax rates by 20 percent and slashing taxes on investment income without raising taxes on the middle class or increasing the deficit, but the nonpartisan, nonprofit Tax Policy Center said in August that his proposal is mathematically impossible.



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