A Huffpo team has made a good catch
: According to his 2010 tax returns, Mitt Romney was an "active" partner at Bain Capital as recently as 2010. The IRS defines "active" thus:
"Factors that indicate active participation include making decisions involving the operation or management of the activity, performing services for the activity, and hiring and discharging employees.
Now, it is undeniably true that Romney portrayed himself as active in order to catch a tax break. Tax law is, as you know, a funny thing -- and one of the funniest things about it is that gives an advantage to the folks at Bain:
The distinction is valuable, for the IRS treats passive and active income and losses differently. If a passive investment loses money, the taxpayer can only write off that loss if passive gains have also been made. But active losses can be written off at a 35 percent rate and deducted from the taxpayer's ordinary income. In other words, a taxpayer wants active losses, not passive losses. So by describing many of his investments as active, Romney saves himself millions of dollars in taxes.
With those active investments, he is also securing a tax break few Americans enjoy: When he wins, he's paying a 15 percent rate on the gain. When he loses, he's writing it off at 35 percent, meaning that tax policy is subsidizing Romney's risk in his Bain investments.
In other words, Romney didn't build that, at least not without taxpayer backing.