Q&A: Drones in the Philippines, Romney tax returns

Philippines denies drone use

On the first page of the Times' Perspective section on Sept. 30, in an article titled "The killing drones on," it reports that U.S. drone attacks have been used in the Philippines. I thought the Philippine government ordered our military forces out of the island nation years ago. Why are we there? Who are we attacking?

There have been many reports of the United States using drones to attack terrorists in the Philippines, most notably in 2006 in an attempt to kill Indonesian Bali-bomber Umar Patek.

Philippines officials consistently have denied the reports. Philippines President Benigno Aquino III has said the country only allows U.S. drones to conduct reconnaissance missions. He said allowing U.S. drones to drop bombs would violate the Philippines' ban on a combat role for American forces.

Aquino also has denied that American troops have been helping his government contain an Islamic militant threat.

"They are here as advisers. They are here as trainers," Aquino told Agence France-Presse in March.

Earlier this month, the Philippines government announced it had reached a deal for peace with the largest Muslim rebel group in the country.

Romney can refile taxes later

I've read that the Romneys held off claiming a large portion of their charitable deduction on their recently released 2011 tax return because it would've put their tax rate near an embarrassing low 10 percent rate. I've also read somewhere that they can go back and refile after the election so that they get the full charitable deduction when a 10 percent tax rate won't impact the election results. True that they can do that?

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has said he's paid more than 13 percent in federal income taxes in each of the past 10 years. For 2011, which he released last month, he paid $1.95 million in taxes, a rate of 14.1 percent.

To get to 14.1 percent, the Romneys voluntarily took less of a deduction for their charitable donations than they were legally entitled to take.

"The Romneys thus limited their deduction of charitable contributions to conform to the governor's statement in August, based upon the January estimate of income, that he paid at least 13 percent in income taxes in each of the last 10 years," Romney trustee R. Bradford Malt told the New York Times.

And yes, the Romneys could later file an amended tax return to claim the deduction. According to an IRS webpage entitled Nine Facts on filing an Amended Return: "Generally, you must file Form 1040X (Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return) within three years from the date you filed your original return or within two years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later."

Q&A: Drones in the Philippines, Romney tax returns 10/21/12 [Last modified: Sunday, October 21, 2012 5:30am]

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