Revelations from ProPublica highlight the processes employed by some ultra-rich to pay as little tax as possible in the United States. Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk or Warren Buffett are concerned.
"You may not be as rich as Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos, but you probably pay more in taxes than them," Gizmodo comments after the revelations of investigative newspaper ProPublica. The American media claims to have had access to the tax data of the largest fortunes in the United States. After analysis, he discovered that several American billionaires pay very little tax in their country, without breaking the law.
"Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who is the richest man in the world, did not pay federal income taxes in 2007 and 2011," Bloomberg reports. “Tesla CEO Elon Musk managed to do the same in 2018.” The wealthy Michael Bloomberg, Carl Icahn and George Soros have for several years paid the minimum rate of federal income tax. The businessman Warren Buffett also benefits from low taxes compared to his fortune.
“Some business leaders receive exceptionally low salaries,” comments Gizmodo. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, for example, only gets paid a dollar a year. "Why ? Because wages are taxed at a high rate, while the sale of stocks and bonds is taxed less. ” Other tax optimization techniques are also used, details ProPublica.
The end of a myth
For the investigative media, these data prove that the ultra-rich can - “perfectly legally” - pay taxes which represent only a tiny part of their fortune. The newspaper explains:
It goes against one of the founding myths of the US tax system: the myth that everyone participates fairly, and that the rich pay the most. ”
President Joe Biden announced in April that he would raise the tax rate for the richest Americans. But according to Gizmodo, “you also have to make sure that people like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett pay their share.” Contacted by ProPublica, the latter said he had paid the amount requested by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), just like Michael Bloomberg and Carl Icahn. George Soros, for his part, mentioned losses on investments between 2016 and 2018 to justify the absence of federal tax.
See also United States. Biden taxes the richest to finance his stimulus policy
Following these “explosive” revelations, an investigation was opened by the American authorities, assures Bloomberg. It aims to better understand how private and confidential tax documents have been revealed to the general public.
(International mail of 8/06/2021)