Twenty-six of the richest people in America paid an average federal income tax rate of just 4.8% over six years (2013-18) when the growth in their wealth is counted as income, according to Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF) using IRS tax-payment information recently released by ProPublica and billionaire wealth growth data from Forbes. This revelation underscores the need to tax billionaires and other ultra-wealthy Americans more effectively, as proposed in plans from President Biden and Congressional Democrats.
The 26 billionaires’ collective wealth grew by $500 billion between 2013 and 2018 while their total federal income taxes were just $24 billion. The taxes paid were not based on wealth growth, which under current law is not taxed, but rather on “taxable income”: wages, private business earnings, dividends, interest, profits from the sale of stocks and other investments, and other sources. As is usual among the ultra-wealthy, that taxable income—in this case, $132.2 billion—is far smaller than their leap in fortunes. [See table below and this spreadsheet]
— source americansfortaxfairness.org | May 19, 2022