Jeff Ernsthausen

Senior Data Reporter

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Jeff Ernsthausen is a data reporter at ProPublica. He previously worked on the investigative team at the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, where he investigated sexual abuse by physicians nation-wide, police misconduct in Georgia and evictions in metro Atlanta. Prior to his career in journalism, he studied history and economics and worked as a financial and economic analyst at the Federal Reserve.

America’s Highest Earners and Their Taxes Revealed

Secret IRS files reveal the top US income earners and how their tax rates vary more than their incomes. Tech titans, hedge fund managers and heirs dominate the list, while the likes of Taylor Swift and LeBron James didn’t even make the top 400.

Taking Aim at Billionaire Tax Avoiders, Biden Proposes Minimum Tax for Ultrarich

After ProPublica's Secret IRS Files showed how the richest avoid taxes — often by minimizing income and relying on their wealth — the Biden administration unveiled a plan that could raise hundreds of billions in tax revenues. Its fate is uncertain.

When Billionaires Don’t Pay Taxes, People “Lose Faith in Democracy”

In an interview, Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden described the effect of the tax dodging revealed in “The Secret IRS Files” and argued that his stalled efforts to make the ultrawealthy pay what he calls “their fair share” could still bear fruit.

Senate Finance Chair to Billionaire Developers: Explain How Opportunity Zone Tax Break Is Helping the Poor

Citing ProPublica’s reporting, letters to Jorge Perez of Related, Kushner Companies and others request details on projects in opportunity zones created during the Trump administration.

The Great Inheritors: How Three Families Shielded Their Fortunes From Taxes for Generations

In the early 1900s some of the wealthiest Americans claimed their fortunes would never last through the generations. A century of tax avoidance later, the dynasties are going strong.

A Massive Oil Spill Helped One Billionaire Avoid Paying Income Tax for 14 Years

Phyllis Taylor’s company is responsible for the longest-running oil spill in U.S. history. That’s been a disaster for the Gulf of Mexico — but a tax bonanza for Taylor.

When You’re a Billionaire, Your Hobbies Can Slash Your Tax Bill

Thoroughbred horses, auto racing, massive ranches, luxury hotels. The hobbies and side businesses of the ultrawealthy create huge write-offs that can let them get away with paying little or no income tax for as much as a decade at a time.

These Real Estate and Oil Tycoons Avoided Paying Taxes for Years

Donald Trump and other ultrarich Americans have earned billions, but they’ve also managed to repeatedly avoid paying any federal income tax by claiming huge losses on their businesses.

These Billionaires Received Taxpayer-Funded Stimulus Checks During the Pandemic

IRS records reveal that 18 billionaires and some 250 other ultrawealthy people received aid intended to help middle-class Americans.

More Than Half of America’s 100 Richest People Exploit Special Trusts to Avoid Estate Taxes

Secret IRS records show billionaires use trusts that let them pass fortunes to their heirs without paying estate tax. Will Congress end a tax shelter that has cost the Treasury untold billions?

Democratic Senators Call for Investigation of Tax Avoidance by the Ultrawealthy

Calling ProPublica’s Secret IRS Files series a “bombshell,” Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Sheldon Whitehouse demanded an investigation into how the rich use “legal tax loopholes to avoid paying their fair share of income taxes.”

Leading Manhattan DA Candidate Has Repeatedly Paid Virtually No Federal Income Taxes

Tali Farhadian Weinstein, who donated $8 million to her own campaign, and her hedge fund manager husband paid nothing (or almost nothing) to the IRS four times in six years.

The Secret IRS Files: Trove of Never-Before-Seen Records Reveal How the Wealthiest Avoid Income Tax

ProPublica has obtained a vast cache of IRS information showing how billionaires like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Warren Buffett pay little in income tax compared to their massive wealth — sometimes, even nothing.

You May Be Paying a Higher Tax Rate Than a Billionaire

A new ProPublica analysis of a trove of IRS documents revealed that the richest 25 Americans pay a tiny fraction of their wealth in taxes. But even if you use the most conventional yardstick — income — the wealthiest still pay low rates.

How We Calculated the True Tax Rates of the Wealthiest

ProPublica started with a trove of private tax data — then analyzed those records, along with sources ranging from Forbes’ list of billionaires to publicly available information from the IRS, the Federal Reserve and more.

The Trump Administration Allowed Aviation Companies to Take Bailout Funds and Lay Off Workers, Says House Report

Instead of using bailout money to keep workers, at least two companies restored the full pay of their top management.

Debt Collectors Have Made a Fortune This Year. Now They’re Coming for More.

After a pause for the pandemic, debt buyers are back in the courts, suing debtors by the thousands.

How the Trump Administration Allowed Aviation Companies to Keep Relief Money That Was Supposed to Go to Workers

One of the most generous programs of the bailout was meant to help airline industry companies keep their workers on the payroll. Some laid workers off first and then got the money anyway.

The Eviction Ban Worked, but It’s Almost Over. Some Landlords Are Getting Ready.

The CARES Act was largely successful in keeping millions of American renters from facing eviction during the pandemic. As protections fade, some landlords are gearing up to return to court.

The Airline Bailout Loophole: Companies Laid Off Workers, Then Got Money Meant to Prevent Layoffs

Three companies including Gate Gourmet, a global provider of airline meals, received $338 million in relief money for workers — and laid workers off anyway.

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