IRS Commissioner Says Leak of Ultra-Wealthy Tax Records Under Investigation

Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Michael Bloomberg, Rupert Murdoch and Mark Zuckerberg among those whose taxes were made public

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The Internal Revenue Service is investigating the leak of tax records belonging to some of the richest people in the country, IRS commissioner Charles Rettig testified during a Senate Finance Committee hearing Tuesday.

On Tuesday Pro Publica published “The Secret IRS Files: Trove of Never-Before-Seen Records Reveal How the Wealthiest Avoid Income Tax,” which contained records belonging to Jeff Bezos, George Soros, Warren Buffet, Elon Musk, Michael Bloomberg, Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch, Mark Zuckerberg, and other extremely wealthy people.

Among other things, it revealed Bezos paid nothing in taxes in 2007, and Musk paid no taxes in 2018, and that collectively, the 25 richest people in America paid only a 3.5% tax rate from 2014-2018.

The Senate finance hearing was scheduled before the leak was made public. “I share the concerns of every American for the sensitive and private nature and confidential nature of the information the IRS receives,” Rettig said. “Trust and confidence in the Internal Revenue Service is sort of the bedrock of asking people and requiring people to provide financial information.”

Pro Publica says it will not disclose how it received the information, which it said came in “raw form,” and argued that the public benefit of understanding how the wealthy avoid taxes outweighs privacy concerns.

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