Paul Kiel

Reporter

Photo of Paul Kiel

Paul Kiel covers business and consumer finance for ProPublica. His focus this year is on the IRS and its ability to administer the nation's tax laws.

In recent years, his work has helped spur a $135 million settlement by a subprime lender for alleged abuses against service members, legislation in Congressa federal investigation of a high-cost lenderstate rule changes and the forgiveness of $17 million in medical bills by a nonprofit hospital.

Past areas of focus have included the foreclosure crisishigh-cost lending (particularly installment and payday loans), the widespread use of lawsuits and garnishments to collect consumer debts, and the consumer bankruptcy system.

His work has appeared in several newspapers, including The Washington Post and The New York Times. He has also produced stories for National Public Radio and American Public Media’s Marketplace, as well as appeared on This American Life.

Among other honors, his work has been awarded a Philip Meyer Award by Investigative Reporters and Editors, a Scripps Howard Award, a Best in Business Award from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, the Online News Association’s Al Neuharth Innovation in Investigative Journalism Award, and a National Press Club Award. His e-book on the foreclosure crisis was featured in The Best Business Writing 2013.

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.

TurboTax-Maker Intuit Will Leave Free Tax Filing Partnership With IRS

The company’s decision throws the future of the Free File program, which was created as an alternative to an IRS free tax filing system, into doubt.

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.”

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.

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.

The Big Corporate Rescue and the America That’s Too Small to Save

Girish Patel doubts his small, 20-year-old shop will survive the pandemic economy. Thirty stories above, aerospace company TransDigm has sustained eye-popping profits thanks to steep layoffs and raised over a billion with help from the U.S. government.

Justice Department Is Scrutinizing Takeover of Credit Karma by Intuit, Maker of TurboTax

The antitrust probe comes after ProPublica detailed how the takeover could reduce competition in the tax prep business.

Different Names, Same Address: How Big Businesses Got Government Loans Meant for Small Businesses

ProPublica found at least 15 large companies that received over half a billion dollars in PPP loans using the same technique: Getting multiple loans sent to smaller entities they own.

Trump Administration Discloses Some Recipients of $670 Billion Small Business Bailout

After resisting its release, the administration revealed information on companies that received more than $150,000 in PPP funds.

Has the IRS Hit Bottom?

Every year, the IRS annual report is an opportunity to measure how effectively the U.S. government has sabotaged its own ability to enforce its tax laws. This year’s report signals historic lows for U.S. tax enforcement.

Stop Seizing Paychecks, Senators Write to Capital One and Other Debt Collectors

Wage garnishments ordered before the pandemic started have continued for many workers during the recession. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown have demanded an end to the practice.

Capital One and Other Debt Collectors Are Still Coming for Millions of Americans

As the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Americans got protection from evictions, foreclosures and student debt. But debt collectors have continued to siphon off their share of paychecks from those who still have jobs.

The Trump Administration Says a New Bailout Program Will Help 35 Million Americans. It Probably Won’t.

Experts from across the political spectrum fear that the Federal Reserve’s new Main Street Lending program won’t reach enough businesses or save enough jobs.

ProPublica Joins News Organizations in Suing for Small Business Program Loan Info

The Small Business Administration, which is administering the lending program, has said it will disclose the names of companies that got loans — just not yet. News organizations are suing to stop the delay.

Did Your Company Get Bailout Money? Are the Employees Benefiting From It?

How has your company treated its workers during the crisis? As bailout money in the form of huge loan programs reaches to your company, what are you watching for or worried about?

Millions of People Face Stimulus Check Delays for a Strange Reason: They Are Poor

The IRS has had trouble getting money to people quickly because millions of Americans pay for their tax preparation through a baroque system of middlemen.

Millions of Americans Might Not Get Stimulus Checks. Some Might Be Tricked Into Paying TurboTax to Get Theirs.

Congress gave the IRS the job of sending out coronavirus rescue checks. But the underfunded agency is struggling, while for-profit companies like Intuit have started circling, hoping to convert Americans in need into paying customers.

Follow ProPublica

Latest Stories from ProPublica