The American media ProPublica has published a report based on data from the Internal Revenue Service showing billionaires including Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Tesla founder Elon Musk who have not paid any federal income taxes for some time. years.
The U.S. Treasury Department has asked law enforcement authorities to investigate the disclosure of tax records cited in a media report showing that some of the wealthiest people in the United States paid little or no taxes. on income, U.S. officials said Tuesday.
The American media ProPublica said it obtained “a vast amount of data from the Internal Revenue Service on the tax returns of thousands of the nation’s richest people, covering more than 15 years.” The data indicates that billionaires including Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Tesla founder Elon Musk have not paid federal income taxes for several years.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said “any unauthorized disclosure of confidential government information” is illegal.
Treasury Department spokeswoman Lily Adams said in an emailed statement that the case has been referred to the FBI, federal prosecutors and two Treasury Department internal guard dogs, “all they have independent authority to investigate. “
The IRS, which is part of the Treasury Department, is the nation’s tax collection agency and many tax records are considered confidential documents. IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig also confirmed that an investigation is underway.
“Obviously, we take it very seriously,” Psaki said at a briefing.
ProPublica described the records as “confidential” and did not disclose how they were obtained.
U.S. President Joe Biden has sought tax increases on the wealthy to help fund proposed spending on infrastructure and social programs, including raising the maximum tax rate to $ 39 million. , 6 percent from the current 37 percent and nearly doubling the capital gains tax rate to 39.6 percent for Americans earning $ 1m a year or more.
“We know there is more to be done to ensure that corporations [and] individuals who are at the highest income pay more than their fair share, ”Psaki said.
Rettig addressed the issue during testimony at the Senate Finance Committee.
“I can’t say anything about the specific taxpayers. I can confirm that there is an investigation, regarding the allegations that the source of the information in that article came from the Internal Revenue Service,” Rettig said. .