South Africa: How Do the Super-Rich Get Away With Paying a 3.4 Percent Tax Rate?

opinion

The American non-profit newsroom ProPublica published part of a massive scoop this week that has got far too little attention, obsessed as we are about Covid-19 and decuplets. But I suspect over the longer term, the finding of how little tax very rich people pay will have more impact that it appears now.

First published in the Daily Maverick 168 weekly newspaper.

What ProPublica obtained was a vast cache of US Internal Revenue Service data which showed that the 25 richest Americans paid tax over the past decade at a total rate of 3.4% of their wealth. This is big news because, like in SA, individual tax records are supposed to be very secret.

How they got the records they are not telling, nobody is disputing the accuracy of the records, so one presumes the records were leaked by an IRS insider who was just pissed off, as we all are, about the ongoing highway robbery rich people get away with.

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It should be noted that ProPublica is not suggesting any of the 25 richest people in the US necessarily broke the law or evaded tax. The problem, it turns out, is a simple one:...

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