- ProPublica, an investigative website, revealed the details
- Flagged billionaires including Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Bloomberg LP founder Michael Bloomberg
- White House spokesperson marks the leak ‘illegal’
Washington: Several of the world’s most prominent billionaires paid minimally to no federal income tax lately, ProPublica claimed on Tuesday citing the confidential Internal Revenue Service records.
The website alleges, the world’s wealthiest individual, Amazon.com Inc. CEO Jeff Bezos, did not pay any federal income tax in 2007 and 2011. Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk managed to do the same in 2018. Bloomberg LP founder Michael Bloomberg and investors Carl Icahn and George Soros were also shown to have paid minimal rates of federal income tax in recent years.
ProPublica, using data collected by Forbes magazine, said the wealth of the 25 richest Americans collectively jumped by $401bn from 2014 to 2018 but they paid $13.6bn in income tax over those years.
ProPublica, an investigation website, says it was provided with the details after it published a series of articles examining the budget cuts at the US Internal Revenue Service.
A White House spokeswoman called the leak “illegal”, and the FBI and tax authorities are investigating.
Treasury Department spokeswoman Lily Adams said in an emailed statement to Reuters that the matter has been referred to the FBI, federal prosecutors, and two internal Treasury Department watchdogs, “all of whom have independent authority to investigate”. US Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Charles Rettig at a Senate Finance Committee hearing Tuesday that his agency is opening an investigation into the sources of the information.