According to Internal Revenue Service data obtained by ProPublica, some of the wealthiest people in the world have paid extremely little in federal income taxes in recent years. In fact, several billionaires managed to whittle down their federal income tax return to zero dollars.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk managed to do so in 2018. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, now the world's richest man, paid zero dollars in federal income taxes in 2007 and 2011.
The report underlines that some of the wealthiest people in the US contribute little to nothing in tax revenue, while those who barely get by have to pick up the tab.
In fact, according to ProPublica's estimations, the 25 wealthiest people in the US saw their worth rise $401 billion from 2014 to 2018, paying just $13.6 billion in federal income taxes — and at a measly rate of just 3.4 percent.
Despite publicly advocating for higher taxes for the rich, even Warren Buffet paid only $23.7 million in taxes despite his worth rising $24.3 billion over the same period.
The effect is that some of the world's wealthiest people appear quite cheap. In 2011, for instance, Bezos went as far as reporting that he lost money, by arguing his investment losses outweighed his income. Bezos even claimed and received a $4,000 tax credit for his children that year.
The trend is likely to continue, as lawmakers have struggled to pass tax increases for the wealthy. Not even small incremental changes stand a chance of being passed by Congress.
The Biden administration recently proposed raising the top tax rate from 37 to 39.6 percent for the next fiscal year. Biden also unveiled $3.6 trillion in tax increases on wealthy Americans and big corporations earlier this month.
Republicans have already denounced the plans and the plans will likely not be enacted, as The New York Times reports.
But even those changes would be unlikely to close the loopholes billionaires are exploiting to pay close to zero — or zero — dollars in taxes every year.
READ MORE: Elon Musk Paid $0 in Federal Income Tax in 2018: Report [Gizmodo]
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