Who leaked IRS files? ProPublica publishes ‘tax secrets’ of Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates

'The IRS records show that the wealthiest can — perfectly legally — pay income taxes that are only a tiny fraction of the hundreds of millions, if not billions, their fortunes grow each year,' it said


                            Who leaked IRS files? ProPublica publishes ‘tax secrets’ of Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates
The information shows their income and taxes as well as their investments, stock trades, gambling winnings, and the results of audits (Photography by Phillip Rubino/ Getty Images)

A nonprofit organization -- ProPublica -- published a very sensationalized report on Tuesday, June 8, reportedly disclosing how the wealthiest people avoid income tax. The New York City-based newsroom claimed that it has obtained a large amount of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) data exposing Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Warren Buffett’s taxes.

According to ProPublica, the IRS files include details of the financial lives of America’s behemoths. The information shows their income and taxes as well as their investments, stock trades, gambling winnings, and the results of audits. The site, which aims to produce investigative journalism in the public interest, also said that the files tear down the biggest lie that “everyone pays their fair share and the richest Americans pay the most.” “The IRS records show that the wealthiest can — perfectly legally — pay income taxes that are only a tiny fraction of the hundreds of millions, if not billions, their fortunes grow each year,” it added.

READ MORE

Nearly 82% percent of GOP tax benefits buried in COVID-19 relief act to go directly to the ultra rich: Report

Trump claims 'jobs will disappear' under Biden's presidency, Angry Internet says 'you destroyed the economy'

Who leaked the secret IRS files?

ProPublica has claimed that an anonymous source provided them with information on ultrawealthy people. In a report, the organization explained why they chose to publish it because they think the data serves the public interest in fundamental ways and also helps them to see patterns that were earlier kept secret. They also noted that the IRS files revealing the names of billionaires, who paid a small amount of tax or even nothing in years, will allow people to understand how America’s wealthiest people — roughly the .001% — take advantage of their money and power.

A mobile billboard calling for higher taxes on the ultra-wealthy depicts an image of billionaire businessman Jeff Bezos, near the U.S. Capitol on May 17, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

“We also believe that disclosure of specific figures about the tax returns of people like Jeff Bezos, Michael Bloomberg, Warren Buffett and Elon Musk will deepen readers’ interest and understanding of this complex and arcane subject,” ProPublica said, before adding the secret data has come out at a very important time when the new administration of President Joe Biden has “proposed raising a number of taxes to pay for additional trillions of dollars in government spending.”

In its reports, ProPublica also addressed the authenticity of the source. The organization clearly said that it did not know the person who sent them the secret IRS files, and also did not force or request them for the information. “The source says they were motivated by our previous coverage of issues surrounding the IRS and tax enforcement, but we do not know for certain that is true,” it mentioned and explained, “While the revelations in today’s story are extraordinary, the procedures we used in assessing the data’s value are standard in the craft of journalism.”

A mobile billboard calling for higher taxes on the ultra-wealthy depicts an image of billionaire businessman Elon Musk, near the U.S. Capitol on May 17, 2021 in Washington, DC. Organized by the group "Patriotic Millionaires," the mobile billboards are rolling through Washington, DC and New York City on Monday to mark Tax Day, calling for higher taxes for wealthy Americans. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Twitter was also buzzing a lot after the files were leaked. While some seemed shocked or surprised, there were a few who said the data did not provide anything new. One user tweeted, “Wealth tax. Increase in capital gains tax. Financial Transaction Tax. We can't even get these simple things done to start to remedy this situation.” The second one wrote, “The rich must be forcibly stripped of the wealth they stole from the people, and punished severely for their crimes.”



 



 

A person pointed out, “You've been duped. If an IRS employee accesses the account of a well-known person their supervisor is contacted to verify that there was a legitimate business purpose. Anyone who had accessed and printed out transcripts of the people you mention would be facing up to 5 years …” While another one added, “The theory espoused in this articles is that we should tax people on valuation and not earnings. So a person could get taxed on the same earnings over and over? I don’t understand how it is even a reasonable system to tax people on value. What value? Last day of each year?”

Bill Gates and Warren Buffett speak with journalist Charlie Rose at an event organized by Columbia Business School on January 27, 2017 in New York City. Gates and Buffett spoke on a range of topics including their friendship, business, philanthropy, global health, innovation, and leadership. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)


 



 

A tweet read, “This article just shows the same stuff we already know. There are an infinite number of reasons why unrealized capital gains should not be taxed. Counting it into their "true" "income" tax rate is pretty misleading. If an individual had to sell 30% of their stock it'd just crash.” The other one stated, “This should not be surprising. Cutting taxes for the wealthy has been the core GOP agenda since Reagan, and all too often Democratic politicians have been complicit. Very little trickles down, whereas money in the hands of the poor & working class gets spent in the economy.”



 



 

If you have a news scoop or an interesting story for us, please reach out at (323) 421-7514