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The Boston Globe

Nation

Romney’s returns revive scrutiny of complex tax shelters

Questions raised over fairness of technique

WASHINGTON — Mitt Romney’s tax returns have drawn political scrutiny on multiple fronts, like his relatively low tax rates and the money parked in a Swiss bank account. But on Capitol Hill, his returns have caught the eyes of members of both parties for what appears to be his use of a type of complex shelter that has been debated for years in battles over evasion and fairness in the tax code.

The technique in question allows nonprofit institutions and large retirement funds to exploit the advantages of shell companies set up in tax havens such as the Cayman Islands by investing money with private equity firms such as Bain Capital, which Romney ran.

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