A massive trove of tax information obtained by ProPublica, covering thousands of America’s wealthiest individuals, reveals what’s inside the billionaires’ bag of tricks for minimizing their personal tax bills — sometimes to nothing.
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.
Do you have expertise in tax law, accounting or wealth management? Do you have tips to share? Here’s how to get in touch.
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.
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.
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.
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.
IRS records reveal how Gov. Jim Justice, Gov. Jared Polis, former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and other wealthy political figures slashed their taxes using strategies unavailable to most of their constituents.
IRS records reveal that 18 billionaires and some 250 other ultrawealthy people received aid intended to help middle-class Americans.
Taxing billionaires on their wealth may sound novel, but the ideas behind it are already frequently used in the tax code.
Several companies, including one backed by Peter Thiel, are fighting a proposal to curb giant retirement accounts and tighten rules for IRA investments.
“The Secret IRS Files” won Gold and "The Cutting," a Local Reporting Network project, won Bronze in the Barlett & Steele Awards for Investigative Business Journalism
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?
The proposed reform stems from a ProPublica story that detailed how PayPal founder Peter Thiel had amassed $5 billion, tax-free, in a Roth IRA. If the bill passes, Roth accounts would be capped at $20 million for high-income individuals.
How the Trump Tax Law Created a Loophole That Lets Top Executives Net Millions by Slashing Their Own Salaries
The 2017 tax cuts made it more attractive for certain company owners to be paid in profits instead of wages. Some cut their own wages, expanding a loophole that was already costing the U.S. billions.
Secret IRS Files Reveal How Much the Ultrawealthy Gained by Shaping Trump’s “Big, Beautiful Tax Cut”
Billionaire business owners deployed lobbyists to make sure Trump’s 2017 tax bill was tailored to their benefit. Confidential IRS records show the windfall that followed.
The ProPublica journalists who obtained the secret tax documents of thousands of America’s richest people share how they conceived of their stories, what readers should understand about the tax system and where they’re taking these stories next.
After ProPublica revealed that some wealthy Americans hold Roth IRAs worth hundreds of millions — compared to $39,000 for the average account holder — Democrats requested data. It shows more than 28,000 people with IRAs worth $5 million or more.
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.”
Pro sports teams pretty much always increase in value. But our tax laws allow the owners to claim that their teams’ assets lose value, lowering their tax bills through amortization. The government misses out on billions in revenue. Here’s how.
Owners like Steve Ballmer can take the kinds of deductions on team assets — everything from media deals to player contracts — that industrialists take on factory equipment. That helps them pay lower tax rates than players and even stadium workers.
How do billionaire team owners end up paying lower tax rates not only than their millionaire players, but even the person serving beer in the stadium? Let’s go to the highlights.
One proposal would ban the kinds of transactions that helped Peter Thiel amass $5 billion in his Roth; another would cap how much could be saved tax-free in these retirement accounts. But two unrelated bills could undermine those efforts.