Wealthiest Americans paid little in income taxes, report says – Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, Massachusetts 2021-06-08 15:06:09 –


A ProPublica report shows how taxes affect ordinary wage earners more than the country’s wealthiest people.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos poses in Seattle. Kyle Johnson / New York Times

Washington-ProPublica’s Internal Revenue Service data show that the wealthiest Americans, including Warren Buffett, Elon Musk, and Jeff Bezos, have paid most of the federal income tax in recent years, despite soaring wealth. Absent.

Tax information released Tuesday shows how millionaires can legally reduce their tax burden, impacting the US tax system on ordinary wage earners more than the wealthiest people in the country. It’s embossed, ProPublica said. The report was released after President Joe Biden and other Democrats complained that the US tax system was unfair and tended to benefit businesses and the wealthy.

ProPublica analyzed the data focusing on the recent surge in wealth of the country’s wealthiest members and claimed that they were paying only 3.4% of the “true tax rate.” The press came up with this rate by calculating estimates of the value of stock portfolios and other assets and calculating the amount paid in federal income tax.

The disclosure of information from these personal income tax forms takes place when the Biden administration is pushing for an income tax hike for the country’s highest wage earners. However, ProPublica data show that taxing income has little effect on the wealthiest Americans whose wealth is largely held as an asset.

The US tax system focuses on income and is not the so-called “unrealized profit” from unsold stocks, real estate, or other assets.

“These are very well-known facts,” said Jeffrey Hoops, a tax expert and associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“If you don’t notice [the income], You don’t pay, “Hoops added.

This remains under Biden’s proposal to change US tax law. Biden wants to reduce the maximum income tax for Americans with an annual income of $ 400,000 or more from 37.9% to 39.6% and raise the tax on the sale of certain assets called capital gains from 20% to the highest income tax rate. ..

Mr Biden refused the so-called wealth tax, which imposes taxes on the unsold assets of the ultra-rich. Biden has also proposed tax increases for businesses, many of whom, according to some estimates, pay very little corporate income tax.

The Trump administration and Republicans have vowed to cut taxes altogether in 2017, and Republicans have vowed to thwart any efforts by the Biden administration to withdraw these changes. Their position is a major obstacle to an important part of Biden’s agenda, including the promotion of the White House to approve infrastructure packages.

We already had some data on taxes paid by the wealthiest Americans, but they are not included in the details that ProPublica said it had obtained.

The IRS publishes a report on taxes paid by the top 400 taxpayers based on adjusted total income. The latest version, using anonymous data, shows that in 2014 these wealthiest Americans paid an average of 23.13% federal income tax.

Information from individual IRS tax returns is a tightly protected secret that has become a major issue in the political struggle in recent years after President Donald Trump refused to publish his pre- and in-service personal income tax returns. I am. Under the IRS audit. It was unclear how ProPublica obtained the record.

However, records show that Berkshire Hathaway’s head Warren Buffett paid $ 23.7 million in federal income tax on his total income of $ 125 million between 2014 and 2018. ProPublica estimated that Buffett’s assets increased by $ 24.3 billion during that period, so his “true tax rate” was 0.1%.

Buffett has in the past called for stricter restrictions to prevent the wealthy from paying taxes.

Similarly, Tesla CEO Elon Musk paid $ 455 million for $ 1.52 billion in revenue during the same period.

Amazon’s Chief Executive Officer and owner of the Washington Post, Jeff Bezos, paid $ 973 million in taxes on $ 4.22 billion in revenue due to a $ 99 billion increase in assets. It was a “true tax rate” of 0.98%.

Musk and Bezos spokesmen did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Buffett said in a statement to ProPublica that his company Berkshire Hathaway is paying a large amount of corporate income tax and plans to devote more than 99% of his personal assets to taxes and philanthropy.

“We believe that it is better for society to fund charitably than to use it to slightly reduce the ever-increasing US debt,” Buffett said in a statement.

“But that will be decided by Congress,” he added, through a change in US tax policy.

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