• June 20, 2021

Exclusive: Rich Americans Like Bezos, Musk, Buffett Avoided Income Tax

 Exclusive: Rich Americans Like Bezos, Musk, Buffett Avoided Income Tax


Lawmakers like Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, have championed the idea of placing a 2 percent tax on an individual’s net worth above $50 million — including the value of stocks, houses, boats and anything else a person owns, after subtracting any debts. In an interview on Tuesday, Ms. Warren called the tax revelations “deeply shocking” and said it reinforced the fact that lawmakers should be thinking about wealth over income when writing tax policy.

“Increasing the personal income tax rate by 2 percent or 10 percent is not going to make any real difference to these multibillionaires,” Ms. Warren said. “The real action in America is on wealth, not income.”

Although she praised some of Mr. Biden’s proposals such as increasing taxes on capital gains and targeting “real” corporate profits, Ms. Warren said that she would like to see the White House be more ambitious.

“I want to see the Biden administration push harder on the wealth taxes,” Ms. Warren said.

Mr. Biden and his advisers have generally deemed the idea of a wealth tax unworkable but they have not formally closed the door on the idea. Instead, the president wants an extra $80 billion over a 10-year period to beef up the Internal Revenue Service so it is better equipped to go after tax cheats. And he has proposed doubling the tax on capital gains — the proceeds of selling an asset like a stock or a boat — for people earning more than $1 million.

“We know that there is more to be done to ensure that corporations, individuals who are at the highest income, are paying more of their fair share,” Ms. Psaki said.

At a New York Times DealBook event in February, Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen said that a wealth tax is “something that has very difficult implementation problems.” She suggested that other tax changes that would increase taxes on wealth that is transferred at death could have a similar effect. In March, however, Ms. Yellen suggested that she remained open minded about a wealth tax.

“Well, that’s something that we haven’t decided yet,” Ms. Yellen said on ABC News, before pointing to other tax ideas that would also affect the rich.



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