The non-profit news website ProPublica published details of the income and tax payments recorded for some money “whales”, led by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett, as well as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and a man Business Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, as well as businessman Bill Gates.
The investigation highlighted the years in which Bezos and others paid relatively little or no federal income tax.
He also revealed that Bezos’ wealth grew by $99 billion from 2014 to 2018, while his tax-recorded income of 4.22 billion, of which he paid $973 million in tax, equivalent to less than 1%.
In parallel, the growth of Elon Musk’s wealth, during the same period, amounted to 13.9 billion dollars, but his income registered with taxes is 1.52 billion, of which he paid 455 million in tax, which is equivalent to less than 3.27%.
ProPublica said it did not know the identity of the source of the information it obtained, which it said was IRS data on thousands of people.
Elon Musk (Reuters)
Investigation and prosecutions
On the other hand, the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service in the United States, Charles Rettig, reported that federal authorities have begun to disclose tax information about wealthy citizens, according to the newspaper, “The Wall Street Journal.”
He added before lawmakers from the US Senate, that internal and external investigations had begun in this regard, with the possibility of pursuing legal prosecutions.
“I share every American’s concerns about the sensitive, private, and confidential nature of information the IRS receives,” he said during a House Finance Committee hearing, stressing the need to trust them “to require people to provide financial information.”
Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates
Taxpayer information is considered confidential, and there are potential criminal penalties for IRS employees or others who disclose this information, according to the “Wall Street Journal.”
The IRS has systems that track employee access to taxpayer information. This government agency had previously fired employees for unauthorized access to this information.