September 16, 2021

NEW Report: THE BIG ESCAPE: How the Ultra-Wealthy Avoid Paying Taxes and How to Fix It

Warren Has Called for Fixing Our Broken Tax System in the Reconciliation Package to Raise $3.7 Trillion and Address Widening Wealth Inequality 

Report Text (PDF)

Washington, DC - United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) today released a new staff report,The Big Escape: How the Ultra-Wealthy Avoid Paying Taxes and How to Fix It.” Massive corporations and America’s wealthiest households are using extraordinary loopholes and increasingly complex schemes to avoid paying their fair share in taxes. This new report examines the effects of two proposals from Senator Warren to fix our broken tax system and raise revenue: the Ultra-Millionaire Tax and the Real Corporate Profits Tax. These measures--which Warren is calling to be passed as part of the reconciliation package--would reverse widening wealth inequality in America and raise $3.7 trillion from the wealthiest households and companies for investments in American families.

Report Highlights:

  • Our current tax system does little to tax America’s wealthiest individuals. Income taxes target income, and standard income is not how the richest of the rich build their fortunes. For example, Jeff Bezos earned $81,840 in salary in 2020, a barely noticeable figure when compared to his $179 billion in wealth. That’s exactly why the Ultra-Millionaire Tax targets wealth. Applying Senator Warren’s wealth tax to five of America’s richest individuals alone, the report shows, would have raised over $9 billion dollars in 2020. 
  • Some of the richest companies in the United States pay little to nothing in federal income taxes for years at a time. Thirty-nine S&P 500 or Fortune 500 companies paid no federal income tax from 2018-2020, yet reported a combined $122 billion in profits to their shareholders. Under the Real Corporate Profits Tax, these companies alone would have paid $7.37 billion in this three year period. Even when top profitable corporations pay some federal taxes, their rates often fall well below the 21% statutory corporate tax rate. This report shows how 15 of the richest companies, including Amazon, General Motors, Nike, Netflix, Bank of America, and others, should be paying their fair share.

“Far too often, billionaires and giant corporations pay next to nothing in taxes, but Congress now has the historic opportunity to build a fairer and better system,” said Senator Warren in a statement about the new report. “An Ultra-Millionaire Tax and a Real Corporate Profits Tax would cut through loopholes and tax-avoidance schemes to ensure that the richest Americans pay their fair share while raising trillions in revenue for sorely needed investments in our infrastructure and economy. This is how we build a government and a future that works for all Americans.”