Billionaires like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Warren Buffet, among the richest people on the planet, pay income taxes to the American tax authorities that amount to a fraction of their enormous fortunes. Sometimes, nothing. This is what the IRS files, the Internal Revenue Service, obtained from ProPublica, “the nonprofit editorial staff that investigates abuses of power”, as stated on the site where the investigation “The Secret IRS Files” is published, indicate. According to the documents obtained, it appears, for example, that in 2007, Jeff Bezos, then a ‘mere’ multimillionaire and now the richest man in the world, did not pay a cent in federal income taxes. The same thing happened in 2011. Tesla founder Elon Musk, the second richest man in the world, also managed to pay nothing in federal income taxes in 2018. Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire media mogul and former New York mayor, has done the same thing in recent years. The billionaire financier Carl Icahn has succeeded twice, while George Soros, another billionaire financier also known for his philanthropic activities, has also succeeded in the feat for three years in a row. By obtaining extensive documentation relating to the tax returns of thousands of rich and super-rich Americans, ProPublica has shed an unprecedented light on the financial lives of some of the giants of the US economy, such as Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch and Mark Zuckerberg. The data points not only to the incomes and taxes of the super rich, but also their investments, stock exchanges, up to the gains from gambling winnings.As a whole, ProPublica says, the investigation into the ‘secret files of the US tax authorities demolishes the myth of the American tax system: that whoever is called to pay the right and the richest pay more. The IRS data, on the other hand, indicates that the richest can – in a perfectly legal manner – pay to the tax authorities only a tiny fraction of their immense wealth, which continues to grow year after year. Many Americans, reports ProPublica, live off their salary, with minimal savings capacity. These citizens are required to pay the federal government a percentage of their income, which increases as their income increases. In recent years, the average American family has earned about $ 70,000 a year, paying a 14% rate in federal taxes. The higher rate, introduced this year, amounts to 37% for couples, on incomes above 628 thousand dollars. The tax returns obtained by ProPublica show that the super rich have in fact managed to circumvent this system. US billionaires have tax avoidance strategies at their disposal that are beyond the reach of ordinary people. Their wealth comes from the skyrocketing value of their assets, such as stock packages or real estate. These earnings are not covered by US law as taxable income, unless or until the goods are sold. Taking for example the 25 richest Americans in Forbes’ ranking of super billionaires, ProPublica found that their wealth grew by a total of $ 401 billion over the period from 2014 to 2018. Over these 5 years , the 25 US super billionaires paid a combined $ 13.6 billion in federal income taxes. In absolute terms, it is a considerable sum, but as a percentage it is equal to a tax rate of just 3.4%. The picture is completely different if you look at the increase in income, over the same period, of an American belonging to the middle class. For example, we are talking about forty-year-olds who live on salary and who between 2014 and 2018 saw the income of their family grow by about 65 thousand dollars, net of taxes. An increase largely due to the increase in the value of their homes. But because most of their earnings came from employment, these Americans paid nearly $ 62,000 more to the tax authorities over the span of 5 years. Basically, a figure equal to the increase in their wealth. No one more than the financier Warren Buffet, the ‘grandfather’ of the US super billionaires, says ProPublica, has managed to evade the American tax authorities. This is a surprise given Buffet’s public stance in favor of higher taxation for the super rich. According to Forbes, Buffet’s assets grew by $ 24.3 billion between 2014 and 2018. From the data of the taxman it appears that in these 5 years he has paid 23.7 million dollars in income taxes. This is a 0.1% tax rate, equal to less than 10 cents for every $ 100 added to his assets.