Either Mitt Romney has another image problem, or Newt Gingrich needs a better tax accountant.
Gingrich, the former House speaker and presidential candidate, paid 31.3 percent of his total income in federal taxes, according to the 2010 personal income tax return that his campaign published online during Thursday night’s GOP debate in South Carolina.
This effective tax rate agrees with what Gingrich told the Associated Press on Wednesday.
In contrast, former Massachusetts governor Romney told The Washington Post Tuesday that his own tax bill is “probably closer to the 15 percent rate than anything.”
Gingrich spokesperson R.C. Hammond quipped Thursday night that the campaign posted the document on its website to “[g]ive you something to read during the commercial break.”
Romney continued to evade questions during Thursday night’s debate about when he will release his own tax records, saying only that he would “release my  returns in April and probably for other years as well.”
The return that Gingrich filed on behalf of himself and his wife Callista showed $3,162,424 in total income, mostly from partnerships and corporations owned by or related to him and his family members.
He and Mrs. Gingrich paid $989,702 in federal taxes on their 2010 income, working out to a 31.3 percent rate overall.
After deductions for $81,333 in charitable donations, $19,800 in alimony payments, $8,505 spent preparing the tax return, and nearly $137,000 in state and local tax payments, the Gingriches reported a taxable income of $2,923,971.
Using that lower number as a baseline, their legal tax rate was 33.85 percent.
During the debate, Texas Rep. Ron Paul said he had no intention of making his own tax returns public “because I have no conflict of interest.”
Former Pennsylvania Gov. Rick Santorum promised to share his with reporters, but said he had a good reason why he had not done so yet.
“I do my own taxes and they’re on my computer,” Santorum said, “and I’m not home.”
“When I get home,” he added, “you’ll get my taxes.”
Santorum told debate moderator John King of CNN that he didn’t “think it’s a big deal. I mean, if Governor Romney’s told what his tax rate is — mine’s higher than that, I can assure you, but I can’t tell you what it was. All I know it was very painful writing the check last April.”
Read Newt Gingrich’s 2010 tax return: