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America’s Highest Earners and Their Taxes Revealed

ProPublica: “Secret IRS files reveal the top US income-earners and how their tax rates vary more than their incomes. Tech titans, hedge fund managers and heirs dominate the list, while the likes of Taylor Swift and LeBron James didn’t even make the top 400. Which people and professions rake in the most income year after year? Which are most adept at shielding that money from the taxman? And what does this tell you about America? The top earners, of course, are often fodder for lists — but those are usually based on estimates or even speculation. A trove of IRS data obtained by ProPublica has the definitive answers, revealing the incomes and tax rates of the 400 Americans with the highest incomes from 2013 to 2018. It took an average of $110 million per year in income to crack that list — with plenty of names you would expect and some that may surprise you. We’ll also show how much the 400 paid in federal income taxes. (ProPublica is naming the 15 highest income earners, along with an assortment that represent income patterns that we’ve identified.) In theory, our tax system is designed to tax the rich at higher rates than everyone else. That’s not the way it works at the loftiest incomes. The data reveals a system where the very highest earners, on average, pay far lower tax rates than the merely affluent do. And even among the top 400, some groups have it better than others: Tech billionaires pay rates well below even other business owners. We sought comment from every person named in this story. Most did not respond or declined to comment. See their responses. In an era of widening gaps between the rich and everyone else, ProPublica’s analysis shows that the U.S. tax system is making inequality worse. Let’s walk you through the world of the highest-earning Americans.

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