Lead: Tax Leak
Tax returns for American’s wealthiest men were published by ProPublica on Tuesday. The IRS is not happy about this.
The document dump shows tax payments, or lack thereof, for billionaires Jeff Bezos, Carl Icahn, George Soros, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Michael Bloomberg, Rupert Murdoch and more. The published documents span 15 years.
The reports showed that many of these men paid $0 in federal tax payments. When they tallied up their collective tax payments for the years 2014-2018, they paid $13.6 billion, which comes to a 3.4% tax rate.
How do they get away with that when the median American household pays 14%? Because the tax code is written to encourage entrepreneurship so when these guys take their money and invest it in rocket ships and gas-particle balloons and whatever else their eccentric minds latch on to, they offset their tax bills. By contrast, when an average person gets paid, they use that money to live their life, not invest in other things, and that money gets taxed. This is just one way. There are many others.
The IRS is, understandably, furious about this document dump. Leaking taxpayer information can be a criminal offense and the IRS is investigating the leak.