Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Michael Bloomberg, and other U.S. billionaires paid little or sometimes nothing in federal income taxes between 2014 and 2018.
ProPublica, a news website, has leaked sensational information about how little income tax the American wealthy have paid. They claim to have received the information from documents of the country’s internal revenue service system.
According to ProPublica, it has seen income tax returns of some of the world’s top rich, including Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett and Elon Musk.
It also alleges Amazon’s Jeff Bezos did not pay any income tax in 2007 and 2011. Also, Tesla Motors owner Elon Musk did not pay any income tax in 2018. A White House spokesman described the leak as “illegal” and the FBI and tax authorities are investigating the matter.
ProPublica says it has analysed “huge revenue internal data reserves” in its description of income tax provided by millionaire money lenders. It will release more details in the next few weeks, BBC reports.
The allegations have been leaked at a time when the debate over taxing the world’s richest people is growing and the gap between rich and poor in the world is widening.
The 25 of America’s most wealthy taxes pay very low – only about 15.8% of their total income as an average. The amount of money paid to them is much lower than most mainstream workers in America, ProPublica says.
U.S. President Joe Biden’s plan
The ProPublic website says that “using the entire legal tax strategy, many huge wealthy people pay their central government tax amount either to a negligible amount or are taking it to zero”. However, in the last few years, their wealth has increased in large quantities.
Like many ordinary people, the rich are getting tax exemptions by donating money to charity and they are showing that their earnings are not coming from salaries, they are coming from investments.
ProPublica using data of Forbes magazine, it said the combined wealth of these 25 top wealthy Americans increased by $401 billion between 2014 and 2018. President Joe Biden has promised to raise taxes for the country’s top rich to address inequality in the United States and invest in his massive infrastructure development program.
He wants to raise the highest tax level, double the income from investment money on those who earn too much, and change the tax rules for those who inherit wealth. However, ProPublica concludes its analysis saying although some of America’s wealthiest, such as hedge fund or investment fund managers, will have to pay more tax under the Biden administration’s proposal, the top 25 moneylenders will not be affected.
Another wealthy George Soros, who donates money, is also alleged to have paid a minimum tax. A statement issued to ProPublica said Mr. Soros had not paid any taxes for a few years, because he did not profit from investments, but because he had lost.
The statement added that George Soros has been supporting the high rate of taxes for the richest in the United States for many years.
According to a report published in the US, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose tax information is in the document, said the disclosure of the information raises concerns about personal privacy and that he will take “legal action” to find out the source of the leak.
Investigative news website ProPublica has published a series of articles on the difficulties they face in applying tax provisions to wealthy and large institutions due to budget cuts in the U.S. internal revenue system. The news agency says it has received the leaked documents in response to those articles.
White House Information Secretary Jane Saki said it was illegal to “publish secret government information in an unauthorised manner.”
Finance Ministry spokesman Lily Adams said in an email to Reuters news agency that the matter had been referred to the FBI, central counsel and two internal monitoring agencies in the Finance Ministry.
“Each of them has the company to conduct an impartial investigation,” the email said.
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