American billionaires, including Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Warren Buffett, who rank among the world’s richest people, paid little to no income taxes, claims a report released by a US media outlet on Tuesday.
ProPublica said it has “obtained a vast trove of Internal Revenue Service data” showing taxes filed by thousands of the US’ wealthiest people over “more than 15 years.”
Bezos, the founder of e-commerce giant Amazon who is currently the richest person worldwide, did not pay any income tax in 2007 and 2011, the report said.
The same was the case in 2018 for Tesla founder Elon Musk, who ranks second among the world’s wealthiest people, according to the data.
“Billionaire investor Carl Icahn did it twice. George Soros paid no federal income tax three years in a row,” the report said.
Michael Bloomberg, former governor of New York and Bloomberg chief executive, who ranks 20th on Forbes’ list of the richest people in 2021 with a fortune of $59 billion, has also paid minimal taxes in recent years, ProPublica reported.
“His riches rose $24.3 billion between 2014 and 2018. Over those years, the data shows, Buffett reported paying $23.7 million in taxes,” the report said.
ProPublica presented a comparison of how much the 25 richest Americans paid in taxes each year to how much their wealth grew in that same time period.
“According to Forbes, those 25 people saw their worth rise a collective $401 billion from 2014 to 2018. They paid a total of $13.6 billion in federal income taxes in those five years, the IRS data shows. That’s a staggering sum, but it amounts to a true tax rate of only 3.4%,” read the report.
The alleged data leak comes amid ever increasing debate over wealth taxes and rising global income inequalities.
US authorities have launched a probe into the disclosure of tax records, with a White House spokesperson saying that any unauthorized disclosure of confidential information is “illegal.”