Billionaires Don’t Pay a Lot in Taxes

Billionaires Don’t Pay a Lot in Taxes
Okay, we knew that before…but now it’s backed up by 15+ years’ worth of IRS tax return data from thousands of America’s wealthiest individuals, made public yesterday by investigative journalism outlet ProPublica. ProPublica estimates that America’s richest 25 people paid a cumulative $13.6 billion in income taxes between 2014 and 2018, a span during which their collective wealth increased $400+ billion, for a “true tax rate” that was just 3.4%. Paying the lowest rates were Warren Buffett (0.1%), Jeff Bezos (0.98%), Michael Bloomberg (1.3%), and Elon Musk (3.27%). Reminder: Most billionaires’ wealth comes from assets like stock and property. Those gains aren’t taxed until they are sold.
Big picture: Compared to the broader population, billionaires’ tax bills have not kept pace with their growing bank accounts. For every $100 gained, Bezos paid just $1.09 while the typical US household paid $160. ProPublica is still combing through the IRS data to explore how billionaires avoided those taxes. But it’ll have a magnifying glass on its own back after the IRS said it’s investigating the big leak.
Bottom line: These revelations will lead to louder calls to reform the US tax code.
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