Jeff Bezos: Poster Boy for Wealth Inequality

Jeff Bezos has a superyacht;

So that’s where he relaxes.

But hasn’t paid the IRS

A single cent in taxes.*

*For 2017 and 2018. In 2019 Amazon paid 1.2% on $13 billion of income.

Jeff Bezos's new yacht is expected to be a larger version of the Black Pearl, and will have three huge masts, but no helipad. Courtesy Oceanco

Filed under: The Wealth Gap

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  • It all makes a certain sense if you accept that a graduated income tax can be inversely graduated.

  • I think we have to also look at Bill Gates, who apparently has agreements to preserve most of his $135 or so of his billions from Melinda.

    This was making me feel bad about shopping at Whole Foods, but some googling indicates Amazon has paid income tax the past 2 years,

  • In reply to jack:

    If Jeff Bazos let Amazon pay income taxes the last two years, it must show how public-spirited he is.

  • In reply to jnorto:

    Those sources indicate that he isn't with other Repugs with regard to freezing corporate rates.

  • Whew! Well put, but maddening anyway. Thanks.

  • AW: I see that you have added the asterisk about "it" having paid taxes in 2019. The reported "it" is Amazon. I haven't seen anything on Bezos's personal income tax. Unlike the orange land developer (and most developers) who use pass-through entities to take advantage of business losses, Amazon is a corporation, so the corporate and personal taxes would be separate.

  • Yahoo! Finance's take was that the stimulus was just helping Amazon, and thus just getting Bezos richer.

  • Perhaps this is a tangent, but one reason corporations and wealthy taxpayers pay so little is because they can afford to set up elaborate tax avoidance schemes. Many of these would not hold up to scrutiny if challenged, but the IRS budget has been cut by around 20% in recent decade's, so the IRS cannot afford the elaborate investigations into obfuscated money transactions needed to challenge these avoidance maneuvers. Last month, an IRS Commissioner estimated that there are as many a one trillion dollars in uncollected income taxes every year.
    https://www.politico.com/news/2021/04/13/irs-one-trillion-taxes-uncollected-annually-481128

    One partial solution to income tax inequality would be to greatly increase the resources of the IRS, but I suspect that Republicans would fight against that even more than they would fight against a tax increase. They would claim that freedom from the IRS is a constitutional right akin to the freedom not to wear a face mask.

  • In reply to jnorto:

    It's more complicated than a lack of enforcement, although there is certainly a lack of enforcement. One of the biggest problems is offshoring of income. For instance, if you look at anything from a fast food napkin on up, there is usually something like TM DD IP Holder Inc., or Oldmark Inc. Companies have offshore intellectual property companies that "charge" them for the use of trademarks, which is deducted from their U.S. income taxes. Then there was Apple shifting profits to Ireland, which the EU said violated its rules, but Apple and Ireland's response was that the money had to stay there to be repatriated to the US (ha ha).

    This stuff has heated up talk about a global intangible low-taxed income rate, which, to my surprise, was included in the 2017 tax bill, but which Biden wants to double.

  • Of course the disparity in tax payments is more complicated than enforcement alone, but if enforcement would net a trillion dollars annually in tax revenues, it is worth doing for its own sake while we are also pursuing international treaties on taxation.

  • In reply to jnorto:

    I never figured out how cutting the appropriation for the IRS helped reduce the deficit (another ha ha), but since nobody likes the IRS, is predictable.

  • In reply to jack:

    Yes, there is irony in the fact that those who scream the loudest against proposals to defund the police are the strongest supporters of the movement to defund the IRS.

  • In reply to jnorto:

    It would be different if Officer Vijay Vasquez had his knee on orange and red necks. If you know what I mean. Cui bono.

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