Tax deductions

At least 18 billionaires received stimulus checks due to tax deductions, reports ProPublica

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A survey of ProPublica found that more than a dozen billionaires have received federal stimulus checks meant to help struggling Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The outlet said it looked at IRS files and found that 18 billionaires and hundreds of wealthy people received CARES law payments intended for taxpayers who makes less than $ 75,000 per year, or less than $ 150,000 for a married couple.

One of the billionaires named by ProPublica is George Soros, a hedge fund mogul and philanthropist with a Forbes– estimated net worth of $ 8.6 billion from Friday. However, a representative for Soros – who did not immediately return PEOPLE’s request for comment – told ProPublica: “George returned his stimulus check. He certainly didn’t ask for one! The outlet reported that a representative for his son Robert Soros said he too returned his stimulus check.

A supporter of progressive politics, George has publicly advocated for higher taxes for the rich, as ProPublica has pointed out. The outlet admitted that its Open Society Foundations donated to ProPublica, which describes itself as “a nonprofit newsroom investigating abuse of power.”

Also listed are Ira Rennert, founder of the Renco Group, and Glen Taylor, a businessman who has agreed to sell his stake in the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx basketball teams to former baseball player Alex Rodriguez and tech entrepreneur Marc Lore for $ 1.5 billion reported earlier this year.

According to Forbes, Rennert is worth $ 3.7 billion, while Taylor is worth $ 2.8 billion. Representatives for Renner and Taylor did not immediately respond to ProPublica’s requests for comment, and PEOPLE’s attempts to reach them for comment were unsuccessful.

ProPublica reported that the billionaires who received the checks were able to qualify as they fell below the annual income threshold due to business write-offs and deductions.

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“The wealthy taxpayers who received the stimulus checks got them because they were below the government’s income threshold. In fact, they reported taxable income far below that – even hundreds of millions less. – after using company write-offs to erase their earnings, ”the outlet reported.

“The ultra-rich have other tax advantages. Many can benefit from a particularly generous vein of deductions: the businesses they own,” they added. “These can wipe out all their income, even for years to come, unlike other deductions, like those for charitable donations. Certain industries, such as real estate or oil and gas, are a well-known source of tax benefits that can generate paper. losses even for a successful business.

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Taxpayers earning less than $ 75,000 could receive a check for $ 1,200, while married couples earning less than $ 150,000 could receive $ 2,400.

The report comes amid increased calls for billionaires to be taxed on their investment earnings.

Unless Congress acts now, billionaires will continue to be allowed by Congress to pay far less than their fair share of taxes.“said a group of 250 millionaires in a letter to congressional officials this week.

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In the letter – written by the Americans for Tax Fairness, Patriotic Millionaires and Responsible Wealth groups – the millionaires said Americans “have a rare opportunity to reform our broken tax code that has for too long provided the wealthiest means to avoid paying. their share. “

The pandemic has already been financially favorable to the very rich in the United States – according to the Institute of Political Studies, billionaires in the United States grew 62% richer and rose $ 1.8 trillion in August.

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