Timeline: Romney's past statements on tax returns

Tue Jan 17, 2012 6:21pm EST

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(Reuters) - Mitt Romney's tax returns have become an issue in the Republican presidential primary contest and the candidate said on Tuesday he probably will not release them until April, despite demands from rivals that the returns be laid bare.

Here is a look at what Romney, formerly governor of Massachusetts, has said in the past about his tax returns.

April 19, 1994 - Campaigning for a Massachusetts Senate seat against Democratic incumbent Ted Kennedy, Romney tells The Boston Globe newspaper he will disclose his state and federal taxes for the last three years "on the very day that Kennedy turns over his taxes for public scrutiny." Neither Romney nor Kennedy disclosed their returns. Romney lost the election.

Oct 25, 2011 - Romney aide Eric Fehrnstrom tells the Politico newspaper: "We'll take a look at the question of releasing tax returns during the next tax filing season."

Dec 21, 2011 - In an MSNBC interview, asked if he planned to release his returns, Romney says: "I doubt it. I will provide all the financial info, which is an extraordinary pile of documents, which show investments and so forth." Asked again by the host, Chuck Todd, if he would release the returns, Romney replies, "I don't intend to release the tax returns. I don't."

Dec 22, 2011 - Speaking to reporters in Lancaster, N.H., Romney says: "We don't have any current plans to release tax returns, but never say never. We'll see what the future holds. We've released, of course, all of the information required by law, which is a pretty extensive release. But down the road we'll see what happens if I'm the nominee."

Dec 28, 2011 - In an interview with KWQC television host Joe St. George in Iowa, Romney says: "Well, we have a series of laws that describe the kind of disclosure that's appropriate and required for candidates running for office. We follow all of those disclosure requirements, and in regards to income taxes, that's not something that's required by law. I'm not planning on releasing my income taxes anytime soon. You know, we will wait and see what happens, never say never." Asked further if he might release them, Romney replies, "It's always a possibility, but I'm not planning on it at this point, but we'll see what happens down the road."

Jan 15, 2012. Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul tells newspaper USA Today that the campaign will "look at the question of releasing tax returns during the next tax filing season."

Jan 16, 2012. At a Republican candidates' debate in Myrtle Beach, S.C., Romney says: "I looked at what has been done in campaigns in the past with Senator McCain and President George W. Bush and others. They have tended to release tax records in April or tax season. I hadn't planned on releasing tax records because the law requires us to release all of our assets - all of the things we own - that I've already released. It's a pretty full disclosure.

"But you know, if that's been the tradition, I'm not opposed to doing that. Time will tell. But I anticipate that most likely I am going to get asked to do that around the April time period and I'll keep that open.

"I think I've heard enough from folks saying, 'Look, let's see your tax records.' I have nothing in them that suggests there's any problem, and I'm happy to do so. I sort of feel like we are showing a lot of exposure at this point. And if I become our nominee, and what's happened in history is people have released them in about April of the coming year and that's probably what I would do."

(Reporting By Lynnley Browning; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Cynthia Osterman)

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