The analysts said those details could emerge only if Romney provided far more of his tax returns — including files dating back to his years at Bain Capital, the private firm he left in 2001. Romney, who initially refused to disclose any tax returns, has drawn the line at providing only his 2010 and 2011 returns.
"The issue has never been Romney's 2011 tax return — in fact, it is a distraction to the real issues," said Edward D. Kleinbard, a law professor at the University of Southern California and former chief of staff of Congress' Joint Committee on Taxation. "All the important compliance and policy questions relating to Romney's personal tax matters relate to the past."
Only multiple returns would provide details about Romney's $100 million retirement account and how it grew, Kleinbard said. He also earlier returns would be crucial in knowing how often he paid gift tax on family trusts.
Joseph Bankman, a Stanford University law school professor and expert on tax law, said Friday, "It's the Bain years we'd really need to know to have a full assessment of his tax strategies." Bankman said that the 2010 and 2011 returns "only raised these questions, but they can't provide real answers."