Bezos Had Years They Paid No Taxes

( ProPublica published a scathing report Tuesday that showed that many rich people pay little to no federal income taxes in recent years.

Among those people are Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos, failed Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg, Tesla’s founder Elon Musk, and investors George Soros and Carl Ichan.

ProPublica obtained data from the IRS that spans the last 15 years. It showed the full tax returns of some of the wealthiest people in America, who also happen to be the richest people in the world. The media outlet said it received the information from an anonymous source, who gave the information to them unsolicited.

The IRS is actually investigating that leak, since it contains information on private citizens.

Bezos recently was at the top of Forbes’ list of the wealthiest person in the world. In both 2007 and 2011, he didn’t pay any federal income taxes at all.

In the first year, he offset his income with deductions and investment losses. In the latter year, he again offset his income with investment losses, and he actually received a $4,000 tax credit for his kids.

ProPublica reported that between 2014 and 2018, Bezos had a reported income of $4.22 billion. He paid $973 million in taxes in those years.

Musk, who found himself second on the world’s richest people list, also paid no federal income taxes in 2018. From 2014 to 2018, he reported a total of $1.52 billion in income, paying $455 million in taxes during that time.

Neither Bezos nor Musk answered questions from ProPublica in response to their inquiries. The publication wrote:

“The IRS records show that the wealthiest can — perfectly legally — pay income taxes that are only a tiny fraction of the hundreds of millions, if not billions, their fortunes grow each year.”

This report only goes to help President Joe Biden as he looks to reform tax policy in the U.S. He and other Democrats in Congress are pushing for the wealthy to pay a fair share of their taxes.

In fact, the American Families Plan the president has proposed would raise taxes on the highest-earning Americans in many ways.

Another issue with this recent report is how ProPublica got the information in the first place. On Tuesday, Democrat Ron Wyden from Oregon said during a Senate Finance Committee meeting that the IRS needs to immediately investigate how this data was disclosed to the media outlet.

He said:

“There appears to be a massive, unauthorized disclosure of taxpayer records. The source of this information is unclear. Given the IRS’ responsibility to protect taxpayers’ data, it has a responsibility to investigate the source of this disclosure.”

Charles Rettig, the commissioner of the IRS, said he couldn’t discuss the article itself but did say there’s an investigation underway “with respect to the allegations that the source of the information in that article came from the Internal Revenue Service.”

And Lily Adams, a spokesperson for the Treasury Department, bluntly said:

“The unauthorized disclosure of confidential government information is illegal.”