Jeff Bezos reportedly didn’t pay any income taxes for at least 2 years between 2006 and 2018

Amazon Jeff Bezos
The silhouette of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Jason Redmond/Redmond

In 2007, and again in 2011, billionaire Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos reportedly paid nothing in federal income taxes.

That’s according to confidential tax documents filed with the Internal Revenue Service obtained by ProPublica, which were revealed in a bombshell new report on some of the world’s wealthiest people. Bezos is currently listed by Forbes as the richest person in the world, with a net worth of $188.8 billion.

Bezos avoided paying federal income taxes in those two years by losing more money investing than he earned from other income, according to the report. In both years, the report said, Bezos paid nothing in federal income taxes by citing investment losses greater than the amount he earned from various income streams (stock dividends, salary, etc.).

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.

Billionaires like Jeff Bezos 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.

Representatives for Bezos didn’t respond to a request for comment as of publishing.

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