Research platform ProPublica says that the wealthiest Americans have hardly paid income taxes for many years. It is based on documents leaked by the IRS of the U.S. Revenue Service. ProPublica includes data from billionaires such as Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and Warren Buffett.
In 2007 and 2011, Amazon CEO Bezos was the richest person in the world, with an estimated wealth of US$186 billion and no income tax at all. The same was true for Tesla founder Elon Musk in 2018.On average, between 2014 and 2018, the 25 richest Americans paid 15.8% income tax.
This is lower than the average salary paid by Americans. According to ProPublica, the tax burden for people with an annual income of $45,000 is about 20%.
ProPublica writes that billionaires squeeze their income by donating to charities. These donations are tax-deductible. In addition, they get most of the funds from investment and investment. In the United States, taxes are only paid when stocks are sold, not when they are returned.
In reality, however, the percentage paid by the super-rich is much lower, ProPublica said. Between 2014 and 2018, the wealth of the 25 richest Americans increased by $401 billion. They paid $13.6 billion in taxes for this because only $86 billion was registered as income. In fact, the tax burden therefore reached 3.4%.
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In fact, the billionaire who paid the least tax was investor Warren Buffett. He paid $23.7 million in taxes for the added wealth of $24.3 billion: 0.1%. For many years, Buffett has advocated higher taxes on the super-rich. Among the 25 richest Americans, Elon Musk paid 3.27% proportionally.
President Biden hopes to increase taxes on wealthy Americans. The maximum rate should increase from 37% to 39.6%. According to ProPublica, this makes no difference to the 25 richest Americans, because their income is still low on paper.
The FBI has launched an investigation into how ProPublica obtained tax documents.