FILE PHOTO: Jeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin and CEO of Amazon, talks about Blue Origin’s future plans during a speech to attendees at the SATELLITE 2017 conference from Access Intelligence in Washington, USA, March 7, 2017. REUTERS / Joshua Roberts
June 9, 2021
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Treasury Department has asked law enforcement officials to investigate tax filing disclosure cited in a media report showing that some of America’s richest people paid little to no income taxes, U.S. officials said Tuesday.
The US media company ProPublica said it had “received a vast treasure trove of data from the Internal Revenue Service on the tax returns of thousands of the richest people in the country spanning over 15 years.” The data showed that billionaires, including Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Tesla founder Elon Musk, did not pay federal income taxes for several years.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that “any unauthorized disclosure of confidential government information” is illegal.
Treasury Department spokeswoman Lily Adams said in a statement emailed that the matter had been referred to the FBI, federal prosecutors and two Treasury Department internal watchdogs, “each with independent investigative powers.”
The IRS, part of the Treasury Department, is the country’s tax collection agency and many tax records are considered confidential documents. IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig also confirmed that an investigation is ongoing.
“Of course we take it very seriously,” said Psaki in a briefing.
ProPublica described the records as “confidential” and did not disclose how they were obtained.
President Joe Biden has requested rich tax increases to help fund planned spending on infrastructure and welfare programs, including raising the top tax rate from its current 37% to 39.6% and nearly doubling the capital gains tax rate to 39.6% for Americans who are 1 . earn millions annually or more.
“We know more needs to be done to ensure that companies (and) highest-income individuals pay more of their fair share,” said Psaki.
Rettig raised the matter during testimony before the Senate Finance Committee.
“I have nothing to say about certain taxpayers. I can confirm that there is an investigation into the allegations that the source of the information in this article is from the Internal Revenue Service, ”said Rettig.
(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt, Andrea Shalal, Jason Lange and David Lawder; Editing by Will Dunham)
This article originally appeared on www.oann.com