Many of the U.S. uber-rich pay next to no income tax, ProPublica reports

The rich really are different from you and me: They’re better at dodging the tax man.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos paid no income tax in 2007 and 2011. Tesla co-founder Elon Musk’s income tax bill was zero in 2018. And financier George Soros went three straight years without paying federal income tax, according to a report Tuesday from the nonprofit investigative journalism organization ProPublica.

Overall, the richest 25 Americans pay less in tax — an average of 15.8 per cent of adjusted gross income — than many ordinary workers do, once you include taxes for Social Security and Medicare, ProPublica found. Its findings are likely to heighten a national debate over the vast and widening inequality between the very wealthiest Americans and everyone else.

An anonymous source delivered to ProPublica reams of Internal Revenue Service data on the wealthiest people in the United States, including Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch and Mark Zuckerberg.

ProPublica compared the tax data it received with information available from other sources. It reported that “in every instance we were able to check — involving tax filings by more than 50 separate people — the details provided to ProPublica matched the information from other sources.”

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