U.S. media outlet ProPublica released a report based on Internal Revenue Service data that showed billionaires, including Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Tesla founder Elon Musk, had paid no federal taxes on the income for some years.
The United States Department of the Treasury has asked law enforcement authorities to investigate the disclosure of the tax records cited in a news article that showed some of the wealthiest people in the United States paid little or nothing. no income tax, US officials said Tuesday.
US media ProPublica said it had obtained “a vast mine of data from the Internal Revenue Service on the tax returns of thousands of the richest people in the country, spanning more than 15 years.” Data shows billionaires, including Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Tesla founder Elon Musk, have paid no federal income taxes for some 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 had been referred to the FBI, federal prosecutors and two internal Treasury Department watchdogs, “all of whom have an independent authority to investigate “.
The IRS, which is part of the Treasury Department, is the country’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 called the documents “confidential” and did not disclose how it obtained them.
US President Joe Biden has called for tax increases on the rich to help fund proposed spending on infrastructure and social programs, including raising the top tax rate to 39.6% from the current 37% and nearly doubling the capital gains tax rate to 39.6% for Americans who earn. $ 1 million a year or more.
“We know there is more to be done to ensure that businesses [and] the people with the highest incomes pay a greater share of their fair share, ”Psaki said.
Rettig addressed the issue during his testimony before the Senate Finance Committee.
“I can’t talk about anything with regard to taxpayers in particular. I can confirm that there is an investigation, with respect to the allegations that the source of the information in this article was from the Internal Revenue Service, ”Rettig said.