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Romney paid 3m dollars income tax

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney paid about three million dollars (£1.92 million) in federal income taxes in 2010, having earned more than seven times that from his investments which places him among the wealthiest of American taxpayers.

At the same time, Romney gave nearly three million dollars to charity - about half of that amount to the Mormon Church - which helped lower his effective tax rate to a modest 14%, according to his campaign records.

For 2011, he will pay about 3.2 million dollars (£2 million) with an effective tax rate of about 15.4%, the campaign said. Those returns have not yet been filed with the Internal Revenue Service.

The former Massachusetts governor had been under pressure in recent weeks to release his tax returns, his Republican opponents casting him as a wealthy businessman who slashed jobs in the private sector. Rival Newt Gingrich made his returns public on Saturday, showing he paid almost one million dollars (£642,000) in income taxes - a tax rate of about 31%.

Romney's campaign confirmed the details of his tax information after several news organisations saw a preview of the documents. He had said he planned to release his returns in full on Tuesday, and campaign officials would be prepared to discuss them in detail with reporters.

"You'll see my income, how much taxes I've paid, how much I've paid to charity," Romney said during Monday night's debate in Tampa, Florida. "I pay all the taxes that are legally required and not a dollar more. I don't think you want someone as the candidate for president who pays more taxes than he owes."

Romney's 2010 returns show the candidate is among the top 1% of taxpayers. The returns showed about 4.5 million US dollars (£2.8 million) in itemised deductions, including 1.5 million US dollars (£964,000) to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Before the tax records were released, Romney's old investments in two controversial government-backed housing lenders stirred up new questions at the same time his campaign targeted Gingrich for his work for one of them, Freddie Mac.

Gingrich earned 1.6 million dollars (£1 million) in consulting fees from Freddie Mac even though Romney has as much as 500,000 US dollars (£321,000) invested in the US-backed lender and its sister entity, Fannie Mae.

The fight over releasing the tax information highlighted an argument that Democrats are already starting to use against Romney - that he is out-of-touch with normal Americans. And it likely hurt him in the South Carolina primary, where he lost by 12 percentage points to Gingrich after spending several days resisting releasing the returns.

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