Washington: 'ProPublica', an online media outlet, has released shocking figures of billionaires evading income tax in the United States, home to many of the world's richest people. According to the report, former Amazon chief Jeff Bezos, SpaceX owner Elon Musk and investment firm Berkshire Hathaway chairman Warren Buffett have evaded taxes for years. Also on the list are philanthropist George Soros, Bloomberg founder Michael Bloomberg and investor Carl Icahn.
Bezos did not pay income tax in 2007 and 2011 though he was on the list of billionaires since 2007. In 2011, he had $ 18 billion in assets. In addition, he received $ 4,000 as tax credit for his children. Bezos' net worth last year was over $ 20,000 billion (Rs 14,59,430 crore). Meanwhile, Elon Musk did not pay up at all in 2018.
The report says that the top 25 richest people in the United States, including the above named, pay very little in taxes. The share of taxes to be paid by them is only a small proportion of their assets, considering the share of taxes paid by ordinary employees and workers in the US.
The Bezos-Buffett-Musk trio paid only 3.4 per cent of what was due in 2014-18. The Income Tax figures were leaked from the Internal Revenue Service. The report alleges that the tax evaders are using completely legal tactics and using the law to avoid paying even a penny.
Bezos and Musk are among the wealthiest people and have further amassed wealth rapidly during the pandemic. The assets of the top 25 richest people in the US increased from 2014 to 2018 to $ 40,100 crore (Rs 29,25,556 crore). But they have paid only $ 136 billion in taxes over the years. Government sources and some of the super-rich have come out against the report following the release of tax documents. Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York and owner of Bloomberg News, said he would take legal action to find those who picked up the documents.
At the same time, Ron Wyden, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said the wealthy who had amassed huge wealth during the pandemic were not paying taxes in real terms.