'Propublica' report on Jeff Bezos & Co.: US government seeks source for tax data leaks

The IRS wants to determine how sensitive the data is to ultra-rich people like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk or Warren Buffett. “I can confirm that there is an investigation,” IRS chief Charles Rettig said at a Senate hearing in Washington.

A Treasury spokeswoman said unauthorized disclosure of classified government information was illegal.

investigation platform «Propublica» It previously published research findings that it claims are based on leaked anonymous IRS data on the income, assets, and taxes of the richest Americans. The information is intended to show how many ultra-rich people in the United States have to pay the tax authorities small contributions to their vast wealth – and how much they can take advantage of legal tax loopholes.

  • Take Bezos for example: the Amazon founder’s fortune actually exploded between 2014 and 2018. According to Propublica, it rose by $99 billion over this period. The entrepreneur only paid $973 million in taxes during this time, making the average tax rate 0.98 percent.
    Note: In 2011 Bezos himself counted “needy”: because, according to his tax return, he spent more than he earned, and was even able to get a $4,000 credit for his children according to “Propublica”.

  • Take Musk, for example: The Tesla boss recently paid just $455 million, even though his fortune grew by a whopping $13.9 billion.

  • Take Buffett, for example: He paid just 0.1 percent tax on his $24.3 billion net worth.

Buffett responded to the data leaks with a detailed explanation, indicating that he intends to donate virtually all of his wealth to charity. He believed that his money in this way was more useful to society. Buffett reiterated his support for a fairer tax system to reduce wealth inequality among the population. According to Propublica, Bezos was not ready to take a stand. Musk only answered a request with a “?” Then it stops responding.

These discoveries caused a stir in the United States, but eventually showed the impact of a well-known and controversial feature of the tax system. Unlike most citizens, the wealth of billionaires like Bezos & Co. usually results in less of their income from increasing the value of assets like stocks. However, apart from their earnings, they are only taxed when they are sold. In addition, the tax burden can be reduced, for example through loans or investment losses.

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