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Paul Ryan releases tax returns

By Ralph Vartabedian and Alana Semuels, Los Angeles Times –

ARLINGTON, Va. — The two years of federal tax returns released Friday by Paul D. Ryan, the GOP vice presidential candidate, provide a glimpse into the finances of a family whose congressman’s paycheck is supplemented by dividends, interest, petroleum-lease payments and other types of income derived through inherited wealth.

Paul and Janna Ryan had gross income of $323,416 in 2011, which included about $50,000 in capital gains, interest and dividends, and $116,000 from partnerships and trusts. The income flowed from a wide range of investments that include two Wisconsin investment partnerships in which Ryan shares, and oil, gas and other holdings in Oklahoma and Texas held by Janna Ryan and her family.

The Ryans’ income jumped 50 percent in 2011 from the year before, thanks to inheritance income, though Ryan’s pay from Congress was about the same, $153,359.

The returns show that Ryan paid a higher tax rate than his presidential running mate, Mitt Romney, who has far more income and wealth. Ryan paid $64,764 in federal tax in 2011, a rate of 20 percent on his gross income, compared with Romney’s projected rate of 15.4 percent on his income of $20.9 million.

A central battle in the presidential race is the fairness of the existing tax system and Romney’s support for extending tax cuts that reduce the rates for the highest income Americans. Romey has argued that lower taxes for the wealthy help create jobs, and said during a debate in Tampa, Fla., earlier this year, “I will not apologize for having been successful.”

The Ryans made charitable and other tax-deductible contributions of about 4 percent of their income in 2011, or about $13,000, up from $2,600 the year earlier.

The couple, who have three children, paid state income taxes of $11,416 and property taxes of $10,488. They own a home in Janesville, Wis., which carried mortgage interest payments in 2011 of $16,143.

Ryan had to restate his taxes in 2011, paying a $59 penalty. When he originally filed, he did not include $61,122 in income from the Prudence Little Living Trust. That oversight resulted in an underpayment of $19,917 in taxes. The Prudence Little Living Trust was founded in 2010 when Janna Ryan’s mother, Prudence Little, died, according to financial disclosure forms.

The jump in his tax bill was already covered, because Ryan had paid the IRS far more than he owed for the 2011 taxes. The IRS withheld about $36,000 in taxes and the candidate had sent estimated payments of about $50,000. He asked for a $5,233 refund and left about $16,000 with the IRS for 2012.

The Ryan family income was up sharply in 2011 from the year before, when it reported gross income of $215,417. The updraft was attributable to the trust income that began flowing when Janna’s mother died. Disclosure forms filed by Ryan and property records show that the trust has significant land holdings, petroleum leases and other operations.

In 2010, Ryan paid $37,457 in federal taxes, an effective rate of 17 percent. In 2010, the couple also paid cash wages of $13,548 to an undisclosed household employee and covered taxes of $3,168.

The tax releases come after a fervent week of campaigning for Ryan, who was tapped at Romney’s running mate last Saturday. He has visited Ohio, Nevada, Colorado, Virginia, Iowa and Wisconsin, and has been well-received by crowds of Republican voters.

The campaign motorcade has been met with protesters in some locations; often they focus on Romney’s wealth. Romney has come under fire in both the primary and the general election for refusing to release more than two years of tax returns.

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gotta love these very rich people telling me how much better my life will be when they take more away from me to make themselves and their friends richer.

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