David Cay Johnston surveys 10 tax lawyers to find out how they would advise a client like Mitt Romney in his column, “Tax Advice For Those Who Want To Be Like Mitt:”
What advice do tax lawyers give private equity managers about saving on taxes as they build wealth?
We may get a first glimpse at the answer on Tuesday when, bowing to public pressure, Mitt Romney promises to release his 2010 tax return and a tax estimate for 2011.
To get a full picture of Romney’s taxes while he made his multimillion-dollar fortune, we would need to see returns going back to 1984-1999, which is when he ran Bain Capital Management. So far, the Republican presidential candidate has not committed to release those returns.
There’s no suggestion that the former Massachusetts governor did anything illegal. However, Congress allows managers of investment partnerships like the one Romney ran to enjoy tax-saving strategies not available to other taxpayers.
So I asked 10 lawyers in seven states how they might advise a new client who is launching an investment partnership – someone like Romney. While we do not know just what Romney’s lawyers advised, the 10 lawyers laid out nearly identical scenarios.