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IRS says publishing of billionaires' tax records referred to FBI for further investigation

ProPublica says the information was sent unsolicited by an unknown source.

Updated: June 11, 2021 - 9:36am

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

The Internal Revenue Service says it will further investigate the publishing this week of confidential information on the incomes of some of the country’s wealthiest residents and how they effectively used federal codes to essentially pay little to no taxes on billions in income. 

Douglas O’Donnell, an IRS deputy commissioner, told a House Ways and Means panel on Thursday the Treasury Department referred the matter for investigation to its office of inspector general, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, according to Bloomberg News. 

"We fully support any investigation undertaken and will urge the investigative authorities to keep Congress appropriately informed of their findings," he also said.

He spoke two days after the investigative journalism group ProPublica published the tax information on billionaires including Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Tesla’s Elon Musk, George Soros and others.

IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig told a Senate committee on Tuesday, after the report was posted that the agency's watchdog group had opened an investigation. 

ProPublica says the information was sent unsolicited by an unknown source.

From 2014 to 2018, Jeff Bezos's wealth grew by $99 billion. He reported over that period a total income of $4.2 billion to the Internal Revenue Service. Yet he paid $973 million in taxes, or an effective tax rate of 0.98%, according to the ProPublica report.

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