Rubio's Tax Returns: Few Details, $2.3 Million in 5 Years

  • Candidate's disclosure omits details on deductions, charity
  • His campaign challenges Trump to release his returns as well

Senator Marco Rubio stands with his wife, Jeanette Rubio, after announcing his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination on April 13, 2015, in Miami.

Photographer: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Florida Senator Marco Rubio and his wife, Jeanette, reported $2.3 million in income over the past five years and paid $526,092 in federal income taxes, according to tax documents released by the presidential candidate’s campaign Saturday.

In a release designed to prompt GOP front-runner Donald Trump to respond, Rubio’s campaign released five years of documents -- though it provided only partial returns, omitting the detailed schedules that would bring transparency into the couple’s income, charitable giving and tax strategies.

“The gross numbers without the schedules don’t tell you anything,” said Martin Shenkman, a tax lawyer and certified public accountant in Fort Lee, New Jersey.

Rubio’s campaign didn’t respond immediately to a request for comment.

The records -- which amount to the first two pages of each annual tax filing the Rubios made from 2010 through 2014 -- show that they paid federal income taxes at the rate of about 23 percent. Coupled with prior returns from 2000 through 2009, which Rubio released when he ran for the U.S. Senate in Florida, the documents raise questions, Shenkman said.

“He’s attacking Trump on the same disclosure issues, but his own disclosures are obfuscatory,” Shenkman said.

Rubio released his tax information three days after 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney called for the GOP candidates to show their tax information to voters.

Among the documents that weren’t disclosed: Schedule C, which would have revealed how much of the Rubios’ income resulted from business interests, and Schedule E, which would show their income from rental real estate, royalties, partnerships, S corporations and trusts.

For example, in the tax year 2012, the Rubios’ adjusted gross income soared to $929,439, almost four times the $276,059 they reported in the prior year, and more than five times 2010’s amount, $183,826. Most of that 2012 income -- $711,243 -- came from business interests, but without the Schedule C, it’s not clear precisely what those interests were. In 2012, Rubio published an autobiography, “An American Son: A Memoir,” which hit the New York Times bestseller list; his income for the year appears to reflect the book’s success.

In addition, $34,002 of the amount came from rental real estate, royalties, partnerships, S corporations and trusts -- but without the Schedule E, it’s also impossible to know details.

In 2011, when the Rubios had adjusted gross income of $276,059, they reported no Schedule C business income. Their Schedule E income, however, was nearly three times that of 2012 -- $101,652.

In 2012, the couple paid federal taxes of $254,694, an effective rate of 27.4 percent, the highest rate they paid in the past five years. The Rubio campaign said in a statement that accompanied the release that “the effective federal tax rate paid by the Rubio family in each of the past five years has been in line with rates paid by Americans of similar income levels.”

Rubio, Florida’s junior senator, has portrayed himself as a success story who grew up the son of a bartender and hotel maid in a working-class household and worked his way to the U.S. Senate. He’s said repeatedly that free enterprise allows opportunity for people on all parts of the economic spectrum.

While Rubio has attempted to position himself as an alternative to Trump -- scoring a series of shots at the GOP front-runner during the party’s 10th debate in Houston on Thursday -- he placed a distant second in Tuesday’s Nevada caucuses, second in South Carolina, fifth in New Hampshire and third in Iowa.

Trump said on Thursday that he is being audited and won’t release his tax returns until the audit is over and could not guarantee he would release them in time for the general election. In posting a link to Rubio’s taxes on Twitter, Rubio’s campaign communications director, Alex Conant, challenged Trump to do likewise.

While Rubio’s release makes him the first of the three leading GOP candidates to release at least some material, the depth of his documentation lags well behind that of Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, who released full returns. In 2012, Romney released schedules and details with his taxes as well.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who has been battling with Rubio for second place behind Trump, released four years of tax returns late Saturday.

Rubio, meanwhile, kept up his attacks on Trump Saturday. “There comes a time when you have to stand up,” he said Saturday in Huntsville, Alabama. “I had to get a little medieval on him, and I did so because he’s a con man.”

Of his own taxes, he told reporters Saturday, “We just wanted to get it out there quickly so that people could see the summaries.”

An earlier version of this story incorrectly spelled the name of tax lawyer Martin Shenkman.

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