Report: Wealthiest Americans are undertaxed

A report by a US investigative journalism organization says the wealthiest Americans pay very little income tax, despite their massive fortune.

ProPublica published a report on Tuesday analyzing the tax records of the 25 richest Americans.

It says those 25 people saw their worth rise a collective 401 billion dollars from 2014 to 2018, but paid a total of just 13.6 billion dollars in federal income taxes during that period.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos paid 973 million dollars in taxes while his wealth grew by 99 billion dollars. This amounts to a "true tax rate" of 0.98 percent.

Investor Warren Buffett saw his fortune grow by 24.3 billion dollars, but his "true tax rate" was 0.1 percent.

These individuals avoided taxes on their income by withholding sale of their stock despite an increase in its value, or by borrowing huge sums of money.

The report points out the median American household that earned about 70,000 dollars annually paid 14 percent in "federal taxes".

It says its analysis shows "just how unfair the system has become."

Buffett told ProPublica he has already begun carrying out his plan to put 99 percent of his wealth into philanthropy.

He said, "I believe the money will be of more use to society if disbursed philanthropically than if it is used to slightly reduce an ever-increasing US debt."