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As millions of Americans prepare to meet Monday’s tax deadline, some groups are calling for Billionaires like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk to pay their fair share. The Women’s March was among the groups supporting President Biden’s proposed billionaires’ tax.
According to a CNBC report, several corporations continue to avoid paying federal corporate taxes on profits. While it is not technically illegal, at least 55 major corporations pay no corporate taxes.
Chye- Ching Huang, executive director of the Tax Law Center at NYU Law School, said that the corporate tax breaks are intentional.
“Overall, they cost the federal government roughly $180 billion each year. And for comparison, the corporate tax brings in about $370 billion of revenue a year,” Huang told CNBC. “The federal government estimates that there’s about 40 billion each year in corporate taxes that are clearly owed.”
President Biden seems to be heeding the call. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki shared a fact sheet about the president’s approach to tax inequities. President Biden requested Congress adjust taxes in the fact sheet so that the wealthiest American households pay at least 20 percent “on all of their income, including unrealized investment income that currently is untaxed.”
In a thread on Twitter, the group Americans for Financial for Reform shared a call to action to address burgeoning CEO pay disparities and raise the corporate tax rate. The current corporate tax rate is 21 percent. The group also cited tax law Professor Dorothy A. Brown’s research on reparations through the tax code to address the racial wealth gap.
Brown also challenged a ProPublica report that framed the disparity in wealth and taxation as a matter of class, disregarding the evident racial disparities in the nation’s millionaires and billionaires. According to Brown, Black billionaires were less than 1 percent and noted that most wealthy Black people have earned income from work, not the same wealth portfolios as their wealthy counterparts. For Brown, focusing on the presence of Black millionaires and billionaires doesn’t mean the system is racially equitable.
“The American system of wealth building is rooted in white supremacy and therefore designed to produce a white Bezos and not a black Bezos,” Brown wrote. “That there are some black billionaires does not mean the system is working — but that due to some extraordinary success, a few black Americans managed to overcome a system designed for white wealth building.”
Last year, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy released a report finding that the current tax level impacts racial equity and inhibits the ability to raise the funding necessary for education, health, childcare, and affordable housing.
“A regressive tax code that asks the least of high-income families will struggle to raise adequate revenues during times when affluent, predominately white families are enjoying an outsized share of all new income growth,” read the report.
As Americans for Tax Fairness tweeted recently, the average American struggles despite economic gains while individual billionaires have increased their wealth during the pandemic.
In addition to demanding corporations pay their fair share of taxes, advocates say the IRS should go after wealthy tax dodgers for enforcement instead of low-income workers. A study from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University found that the IRS audited America’s poorest families, those making under $25,000, at five times that of all other earning groups.
“Even taxpayers with total positive income from $200,000 to $1,000,000 had much lower odds of audit compared with these lowest income wage earners — workers with incomes so low they had claimed an anti-poverty earned tax credit,” read the report.