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King Releases Seven Years of Tax Returns
10/01/2012   Reported By: Susan Sharon

Following a challenge from Democrat Cynthia Dill in the race for the U.S. Senate, independent Angus King today voluntarily released seven years worth of federal income tax returns. Both Dill and Republican Charlie Summers had pledged earlier to simultaneously release 10 years of returns. King has now beaten them to the punch. And as Susan Sharon reports, the records show that during those years King has paid an average tax rate of just over 22 percent on the small fortune he's amassed.

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The tax returns, prepared by King's accounting firm, MacDonaldPage and Co., cover the years 2005 through 2011. They show the former governor and his wife, Mary Herman, live well by most Mainers' standards. King's average, annual gross income during those seven years was about $569,000. His average taxable income was more than $392,000.

On a yearly basis, much of his income comes from capital gains, which are only subject to a maximum tax rate of 15 percent. And what is the source of his wealth? "That's a result of the investments from the sale of his company prior to when he was governor," says Crystal Canney, a spokesperson for the King campaign.

Canney says it's well known that King made the bulk of his fortune - about $19 million - from the sale of his energy conservation company in 1994. And while King continues to reap the rewards of that sale, Canney says King and his wife are also generous with their money.

"Their charitable contributions are 13.4 percent, averaged over seven years, and that's a very high number," she says. "But they're very generous people."

Records show that King and his wife typically give more than $75,000 a year to charities. Canney says more than 95 percent of them are in Maine. And Colby College Professor Anthony Corrado says King's quick response in releasing the information should put the issue of financial transparency to rest.

"I think that the tax returns won't tell us very much new about Angus King. It certainly was not the case that voters were questioning his tax returns or wondering about his personal wealth, because this is all well-known to the voters in Maine," Corrado says.

Neither the Dill campaign nor the Summers campaign returned telephone calls for comment for this story. But Dill released a written statement saying she is glad that two of her challengers in the race have chosen to be transparent with Maine voters.

In an email, a spokesman for Charlie Summers says his campaign is working with Dill to comply with her proposal to have the candidates release 10 years worth of federal tax returns. Crystal Canney says the King campaign only released seven because that's what King's accountant keeps on file as required by the Internal Revenue Service.

The records show King paid a tax rate of between 20 and 26 percent over the past seven years. Canney says King has proposed increasing the capital gains tax which would directly affect his own earnings.

"He feels it's important that someone who gets a check in the mail from capital gains, that they are taxed at the same rate as the person who goes out there and works with their hands every single day," she says. "Under Charlie Summers' plan, however, Angus would have paid nearly zero in capital gains."

Canney says the release of King's tax returns marks the first time in Maine that any candidate for federal office has voluntarily made public so much personal financial information.

View King's seven years of tax returns.

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