Jeff Bezos is the richest person in the world today. The Amazon founder's estimated net worth is around $ 186 billion, according to Forbes. The 57-year-old did not have to pay income tax in 2007. The share price of his company doubled over that time. Four years later, Bezos got around paying income taxes again. What's more, he reported losses and received a $ 4,000 tax credit for his children. Although he was already a multi-billionaire at the time. This emerges from the tax returns of the super-rich that were leaked to the American online platform ProPublica, a non-profit organization for investigative journalism.
Accordingly, Tesla boss Elon Musk also paid no income tax in the United States in 2018. Michael Bloomberg has been doing so for the past three years, as has George Soros. Overall, according to the information, none of the 25 richest Americans avoided as many taxes as the financial investor Warren Buffet. According to Forbes, his wealth rose by $ 24.3 billion between 2014 and 2018. In those years, however, he paid $ 23.7 million in taxes - a rate of 0.1 percent or less than ten cents for $ 100 added to his fortune. If you look at the 25 richest Americans, they paid just $ 13.6 billion in taxes on their $ 401 billion in wealth accumulated over the same period. That is only 3.4 percent.
According to ProPublica, the wealthy Americans use tax tricks to give as little of their wealth as possible back to the general public. Because they invest their assets mainly in stocks and real estate, they do not have to pay tax on them. In the United States, such income is considered non-taxable unless it is resold.
Experts have long suspected these uneven levies of taxes in America. What is new about the revelations, however, are the details. They are likely to rekindle the debate in the United States about taxing not only income but also the wealth of the wealthiest people in the state. The Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts, for example, is calling for such a property tax of two percent on net worth to be considered. It should apply to all people who have assets of more than $ 50 million.
The incumbent President of the United States, Joe Biden, and his advisors, however, have so far considered this to be unenforceable. He wants to raise the top tax rate from 37 percent to 39.6 percent. However, this only affects the incomes of Americans. For the majority of the top 25, this would hardly change anything.