The leak of US federal tax returns filed by the world’s richest tycoons sent shock waves this week. To put it simply, the headlines stemming from the ProPublica report appear damning.
According to the leaked documents the non-profit saw, in 2007 and 2011, Jeff Bezos, today the world’s richest person, didn’t pay a thing in federal income tax – indeed in 2011, the Amazon multi-billionaire claimed and received a $4,000 tax credit for his children. In 2018, Tesla and SpaceX supremo Elon Musk, the second richest person, did not pay a bean in federal income tax, either.
In a splashy investigation, journalists at ProPublica said they’d clapped eyes on: “data provid[ing] an unprecedented look inside the financial lives of America’s titans, including Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch and Mark Zuckerberg. It shows not just their income and taxes, but also their investments, stock trades, gambling winnings and even the results of audits.”