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Report: Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Warren Buffett pay little or no income tax 

Report: Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Warren Buffett pay little or no income tax 
June 09
17:38 2021

Several of the world’s richest people pay just little or even nothing in federal income taxes, according to an investigation conducted by ProPublica.

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ProPublica, a non-profit investigative journalism organisation, reports that Jeff Bezos, chief executive officer of Amazon and world’s richest person, did not pay a penny in federal income taxes in 2007 and 2011.

Similarly, Elon Musk, Tesla CEO and world’s second-richest person paid zero federal income taxes in 2018.

Michael Bloomberg, the co-founder of Bloomberg L.P and former mayor of New York City, also skipped taxes in recent years. George Soros, a billionaire investor and philanthropist, paid no federal income tax three years in a row while Carl Icahn, another billionaire investor, also accomplished the feat twice.

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ProPublica said it obtained a vast trove of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) data on the tax returns of thousands of the nation’s wealthiest people, covering more than 15 years.

It explained that the billionaires missing out on tax payments was not illegal as they simply used tax avoidance strategies. They derived their wealth from the skyrocketing value of their assets, like stock and property. Those gains are not defined by U.S. laws as taxable income unless and until the billionaires sell.

“The data provides an unprecedented look inside the financial lives of America’s titans, including Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch and Mark Zuckerberg. It shows not just their income and taxes, but also their investments, stock trades, gambling winnings and even the results of audits,” the article reads.

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“Taken together, it demolishes the cornerstone myth of the American tax system: that everyone pays their fair share and the richest Americans pay the most.

“The IRS records show that the wealthiest can — perfectly legally — pay income taxes that are only a tiny fraction of the hundreds of millions, if not billions, their fortunes grow each year.”

Warren Buffett, the world’s seventh-wealthiest person, is reported to have paid just 0.1 percent or $23.7 million in taxes on wealth growth of $24.3 billion from 2014 to 2018.

This means that he paid less than 10 cents for every $100 he added to his wealth.

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Citing Forbes, the article said 25 richest Americans saw their worth rise a collective $401 billion from 2014 to 2018.

However, the IRS data shows that they paid a total of $13.6 billion in federal income taxes in those five years, which amounts to an actual tax rate of only 3.4 percent.

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