JTA – Billionaire businessman and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg vows to catch whoever shared his personal tax information with a team of investigative reporters.
The tax records became wealthier along with those of thousands of others Obtained from Americans by the non-profit ProPublica news agency and used in a revelation about the U.S. tax system released Tuesday.
ProPublica produced a detailed report on how many of the richest people in the country pay little or sometimes nothing at all due to the way the tax law works Pay income taxes. (No wrongdoing is alleged in the report.)
While the notion that the rich pay little tax compared to the average earner has long been known or suspected, detailed information about individual taxpayers is considered very private and rarely comes to light. Former US President Donald Trump’s tax returns were of great public interest and were eventually obtained, at least in part, by the New York Times last year.
The hard data, ProPublica wrote, “shatters the cornerstone myth of the American tax system: that everyone pays their fair share and the richest Americans pay the most. «
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Bloomberg, a prominent Jewish philanthropist and the 13th richest American according to Forbes, featured prominently in the article.
According to reports, he paid $ 70.7 million in 2018 on an income of 1.9 billion US dollars, which corresponds to a tax rate of 3.7%. The middle American household typically pays about 14% of federal income tax. Bloomberg benefited from Trump-era tax cuts, charity write-offs, and credits for paying foreign taxes, according to ProPublica.
The tax data also showed that Bloomberg’s net worth rose by $ 22.5 billion between 2014 and 2018 , while his tax charge for that period was $ 292 million, or 1.3%.
The discrepancy points to a fundamental feature of U.S. tax law. Income from wages or the sale of stocks is taxed. An increase in the value of an asset is not considered income and is therefore not taxed.
In a statement, a spokesman said Bloomberg will act to find out who is responsible for the unauthorized disclosure of its private financial records.
« We intend to use all legal means at our disposal to determine which person or government agency leaked it and to ensure that they are held accountable, « the statement reads.
» The publication of the tax returns of a Individuals should raise real privacy concerns, regardless of political affiliation or views on tax policy, ”the statement said. “In the United States, no individual should be afraid of their taxes being illegally lowered.”
The statement also defended Bloomberg’s record by showing its support for tax hikes for the wealthy during its presidential campaign and its generous philanthropic donation – US $ 11 billion – dollars during his lifetime – noted. When Bloomberg won the $ 1 million Genesis Prize, which recognizes, for example, commitment to the Jewish community, he was giving away the money primarily for Israel-related purposes.
« Anything Mike donates to charity and pays in taxes makes up about 75% of his annual income, « the statement said.
Among the other billionaires examined in the revelation are two other Jews, George Soros and Carl Icahn, and Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett.
Soros, an investor who has donated billions to charity, especially liberal causes, responded by saying he supported tax increases for the rich.
« Between 2016 and 2018, George Soros lost money on his investments, so he owed no federal income taxes during those years, « a spokesman said in a statement. « Mr. Soros has long supported higher taxes for wealthy Americans. »
Meanwhile, Icahn took a different path. The businessman, who is classified by Forbes as the 40th richest American, criticized ProPublica for his question.In an interview he was asked « whether it was appropriate that he did not pay income tax in certain years ».
In response, Icahn said: « There is a reason why it is called income tax. The reason is if You a poor person, a rich person, when you are Apple – if you have no income you don’t pay taxes. ”He added,“ Do you think a rich person should pay taxes no matter what? I don’t think so How can you ask me that question? «
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