In 2007, Jeff Bezos – who is now the richest man in the world but even then was a multibillionaire – did not pay a single penny of federal income tax. In 2011, Bezos paid no taxes again. Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla and the third-richest man worldwide, did not pay any federal income taxes in 2018. Michael Bloomberg, Carl Icahn, and George Soros all managed to pay zero percent federal income taxes, with Soros managing the feat for three years in a row.
ProPublica used “a vast trove of Internal Revenue Service data,” spanning 15 years and covering thousands of people, they obtained to analyze and compare “how much in taxes the 25 richest Americans paid each year to how much Forbes estimated their wealth grew in that same time period.”
In the ground-breaking report, ProPublica determined both the “true tax rate” of America’s “ultrarich” as well as what their taxes ought to be. They further compared the data on the billionaires to what the average American has been paying (percentage-wise) in taxes in the same amount of time.
The data reveals investments, stock trades, audit results, income, gambling winnings, and taxes. It shows that while couples earning more than $628,300 are supposed to pay 37 percent federal income taxes this year, the richest Americans are essentially unaffected by the tax system–including Biden’s projected tax hikes.