- Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos received a $4,000 tax credit for his children in 2011, ProPublica reported.
- ProPublica obtained confidential tax documents filed with the Internal Revenue Service.
- In 2011, Bezos’ net worth was valued at $18 billion.
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In 2011, billionaire Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos reportedly paid nothing in federal income taxes. That same year, when his net worth was valued at around $18 billion, he filed for and received a $4,000 tax credit for his children, ProPublica reports.
The outlet obtained confidential tax documents filed with the Internal Revenue Service, which were revealed in a bombshell new report on some of the world’s wealthiest people. ProPublica did not publish its source data or disclose how the information was obtained.
In 2007, and again in 2011, he reportedly paid nothing in federal income taxes because the he lost more money investing than he earned from other income, according to the report. He made so little in 2011, according to the US government tax code, that he was able to file for and receive a $1,000-per-child tax credit – households with over $100,000 in joint income weren’t eligible to receive the credit.
As a result, despite being a billionaire many times over in 2011, Bezos was able to receive a $4,000 credit from the federal government. That’s because Bezos’ net worth is largely tied to stock, which does not affect an individual’s tax bracket until shares are sold and that revenue is reported as income.
Billionaires like Jeff Bezos, whose net worth is currently about $190 billion, according to Forbes, and Bill Gates derive little wealth from their annual income. Instead, much of their net worth is tied to stock holdings.
Bezos, for example, owns a 10.3% stake in Amazon that’s valued at about $170 billion.
The majority of Bezos’ net worth – $170 billion – is tied to Amazon stock, which fluctuates regularly and has even left the billionaire jockeying for the world’s wealthiest title with Tesla CEO Elon Musk at times. At least $19 billion of Bezos’ wealth is not tied to his stake in Amazon.
Bezos can skip paying taxes on his accumulated wealth from the Amazon stock because stock gains aren’t taxed until they are realized by selling off the stock.
He’s sold some of his shares in the past for massive gains: $5 billion earlier this year, $3.1 billion in August 2020, and just shy of $2 billion the prior August. He’s also said that he sells about $1 billion in shares annually to fund his space rocket company, Blue Origin. It’s unclear what taxes he paid on those sales.
For the years he did pay federal income taxes between 2006 and 2018, Bezos paid a total of about $1.4 billion on a reported income of $6.5 billion, or a rate of about 21.5%. That reported income does not include the vast increase to his net worth during the same period – about $127 billion, according to Forbes – due to his stake in Amazon.
Representatives for Bezos didn’t respond to a request for comment as of publishing.
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