Love him or hate him, say this for Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich; he paid his 2010 taxes at a much higher rate than many others at his income level.
Gingrich had his campaign release his 2010 tax return at the start of Thursday's Charleston, S.C. debate. It was his way of instantly rattling Mitt Romney and putting him on the defensive since his rival for the GOP nomination has dragged his heels on releasing his tax returns.
Gingrich's return, filed jointly by Gingrich and his wife Callista, showed that he reported a 2010 adjusted gross income of $3.1 million and paid $994,708 in federal income taxes, putting his rate at 31.7 percent.
His income was almost ten times more than the $343,947 that in 2009 (the last year for which data are available) would place a tax payer in the top one percent of income earners, at least as the Internal Revenue Service defines it using adjusted gross incomes. The Tax Foundation has a helpful analysis of the IRS data.
According to the IRS data, the average tax rate for those in the top one percent of income earners was 24.01 percent, a rate Gingrich paid significantly more than. It's also about double the rate his chief rival, Mitt Romney, the former Bain Capital CEO and one-time Massachusetts governor recently said he paid his taxes at, about 15 percent.
The difference is between the two men's tax rates appears largely because most of Romney's income came in the form of investment income which is taxed at a lower rate than regular income which is what Gingrich, like most taxpayers, report.
Gingrich's tax rate, if not his income level, certainly gives him more of a claim on feeling the pain of middle-income Americans than Romney has. He gave the