IRS Investigating After Leak Shows Jeff Bezos And Elon Musk Paid Zero Income Tax

Niamh Shackleton

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IRS Investigating After Leak Shows Jeff Bezos And Elon Musk Paid Zero Income TaxPA Images

The IRS is investigating how leaked documents got out and subsequently revealed that some of America’s wealthiest people have been paying no income tax.

The information was published by non-profit investigative journalism organisation ProPublica, though the source of the leak is unknown. The documents found the likes of Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos have paid little to no income tax for several years.

The 25 richest Americans’ wealth increased by $401 billion between 2014 and 2018, yet these 25 individuals only paid $13.6 billion in income tax over this time frame.

Jeff Bezos (PA Images)PA Images

As of the 2020 tax year, those who earned more than $518,400 were to pay 37% in income tax, according to the Tax Policy Center.

Despite this, ProPublica’s report suggested America’s 25 wealthiest people paid just 3.4% of their overall wealth in federal income tax.

This is said to have been perfectly legal, however, as people can use tax avoidance strategies which gives people the opportunity to pay less tax in certain situations, such as if they make charitable donations or by taking no wages, Sky News reports.

With this in mind, the report claims Bezos paid no income tax between 2007 and 2011, while Musk paid none in 2018. Also on the list of billionaires not paying income tax across various years were Michael Bloomberg, investor Carl Icahn, George Soros and Warren Buffett

Elon Musk (PA)PA Images

People have since claimed the US tax system favours the rich. Senator Elizabeth Warren tweeted yesterday, June 8, ‘Our tax system is rigged for billionaires who don’t make their fortunes through income, like working families do.’

Warren then called on the country’s super rich to pay their ‘fair share’.

In the wake of the report being released, the Biden administration has announced it’s investigating the leak, as the information disclosed in the report was confidential.

Treasury spokeswoman Lily Adams said yesterday:

The unauthorised disclosure of confidential government information is illegal. The matter is being referred to the Office of the Inspector General, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, all of whom have independent authority to investigate.

It’s believed the data from the report was obtained through Internal Revenue Service (IRS) records, CNN reports.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki also said in a statement yesterday, ‘Any unauthorized disclosure of confidential government information by a person of access is illegal and we take this very seriously.’

While Psaki refused to comment directly on the leak, she did say the Biden administration knows more needs to be done ‘to ensure that corporations, individuals who are at the highest income are paying more of their fair share’.

In the wake of the report, Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Charles Rettig said an investigation is now underway, telling senators: ‘I can confirm that there is an investigation with respect to the allegations that the source of the information in that article came from the Internal Revenue Service. Upon reviewing the article, the appropriate contacts were made, as you would expect.’

Featured Image Credits: PA Images

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Topics: News, Biden administration, Elon Musk, investigation, Jeff Bezos, leak, Now, US News


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Niamh Shackleton
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