The left-leaning investigative journalism nonprofit ProPublica just released a report that used 15-years worth of confidential IRS records to calculate the effective tax rate that billionaires pay on their fortunes.
Among the billionaires named in the report is George Soros, who they say paid no income tax three years in a row, from 2016-2018.
A spokesperson for Soros said in a statement to ProPublica that “Between 2016 and 2018 George Soros lost money on his investments, therefore he did not owe federal income taxes in those years. Mr. Soros has long supported higher taxes for wealthy Americans.” But the performance of Soros Fund Management, the fund responsible for Soros’ massive wealth, gained 5% in 2016, 8.9% in 2017, and 0.9% in 2018. Where exactly is the loss that they’re speaking of?
Back in 2017 Soros transferred $18 billion of his fortune to the Open Society Foundation charity that he controls. That guarantees that those funds will be sheltered from the IRS forever in what one commentator called the “single biggest tax dodge in U.S. history, yet no one on the right or left seems to have raised an eyebrow.” The donation also allows Soros to deduct up to 20% of its market value on his personal taxes ($3.6 billion), which he can carry forward for five years, effectively giving him a double write off. That’s a more likely explanation for the lack of taxes paid, at least in the years 2017 and 2018.
Among the other billionaires included in the report are Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Tesla’s Elon Musk, Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffet, and Icahn Enterprises’ Carl Icahn, and Bloomberg’s Michael Bloomberg. The report does have its flaws in that it calculates the “true” tax rates of these billionaires by comparing their taxes paid over a period vs. their increase in net worth. Most of these billionaire’s gains in wealth is due to increases in the value of stock, not earned income. Of course, those billionaires will eventually pay long-term capital gains tax when they cash out their stock (unless they pull a Soros and donate to a “charitable foundation”).
The buried lede here may be that the IRS was either hacked – or they have a leaker.
Matt Palumbo is the author of Dumb and Dumber: How Cuomo and de Blasio Ruined New York, Debunk This: Shattering Liberal Lies, and Spygate
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