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Your favorite tech billionaires aren’t paying shit in taxes

In 2007, you probably paid more in federal taxes than Jeff Bezos.

jeff bezos of amazon hoarding gold
Image: KnowTechie

This last year I paid over $4,000 in federal taxes. The year before that, almost $6,000. In 2007, with a fortune that skyrocketed $3.8 billion that year, Jeff Bezos paid a whopping $0 in federal taxes.

This information comes from a scathing new report from ProPublica that contains a “vast trove” of information about many of the richest people in the US, many of which are tech people like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and Mark Zuckerberg. The data comes from the IRS and spans more than 15 years.

Long story short, the 25 richest people in the US aren’t paying shit in federal taxes. ProPublica used its data combined with Forbes data regarding total worth to come up with what they are calling a true tax rate. This looks at the individual’s overall “worth” in comparison to tax payments.

billionaires taxes and net worth
Data from 2014-2018 (Image: ProPublica)

From 2014 to 2018, the top 25’s net worth raised $401 billion. They paid $13.6 billion in federal income taxes. Yes, $13.6 billion is a huge, unfathomable number for almost all of us, but when you look at the percentages, that only comes out to 3.4%. The average American household pays around 14% (data from 2017).

So, how do the Musks and Zucks of the world get away with paying so little? Ironically enough, they use their money to pay the best lawyers and tax people in the world. In addition, things like stock and property aren’t defined as taxable income either – until the individual sells.

These individuals also take out huge loans, because as ProPublica states, loans aren’t considered taxable income, because they have to be paid back. Then the interest from those loans can be deducted during tax season.

It’s all a meticulous song and dance to help let the gold-hoarding dragons keep their money.

Anyways, if you aren’t angry from this, just go read ProPublica’s full report so you can get good and angry this Tuesday morning.

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