NewsBillionaires pay too low taxes? "Hard to justify"

Billionaires pay too low taxes? "Hard to justify"

"I support a tax system in which, if you have more money, you pay a higher percentage of taxes" - wrote billionaire Bill Gates on his blog.
"I support a tax system in which, if you have more money, you pay a higher percentage of taxes" - wrote billionaire Bill Gates on his blog.
Images source: © Getty Images | Bennett Raglin
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10:16 PM EDT, October 23, 2023, updated: 9:06 AM EDT, October 24, 2023

Governments should combat tax evasion through a global minimum tax for billionaires, which could bring in $250 billion annually to budgets, declared the EU Tax Observatory, a think-tank of the Paris School of Economics.

The collected amount would only make up 2 percent of nearly $13 trillion in wealth owned by 2,700 global billionaires - claims the Observatory in its annual report on tax evasion.

How much tax could billionaires pay?

According to the group, billionaires actually pay significantly lower taxes than people with more modest means. "It's hard to justify," said Gabriel Zucman, director of the observatory, to reporters. The think-tank emphasized that governments have achieved some successes. They managed to eliminate banking secrecy and limit the possibilities of international corporations transferring profits to countries with low taxes.

According to the group, the launch of automatic account information sharing in 2018 resulted in a threefold decrease in the amounts stored in foreign tax havens. And the agreement reached between 140 countries, which is set to start working next year, establishes a global minimum tax level for legal entities at 15 percent. "The next step is to apply this logic to billionaires, not just international companies" - believes Director Zucman.

World millionaires appeal to politicians

"The current tax system is unfair, benefiting the richest, which exacerbates inequality and undermines social trust. Taxes for the richest need to be raised" - over 200 billionaires and millionaires from 13 countries wrote in an open letter addressed to the participants of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The foundation of democracy is a fair tax system, and as millionaires, we know that the current solutions are not fair - it was emphasized in the text.

"Over the past two years, as the world went through tremendous suffering, our wealth has increased, but few of us, if any, can say we've paid fair taxes," notes the millionaires, adding that restoring trust in society requires fair taxation of the wealthiest. "History shows how societies divided by extreme inequalities end, it's time to confront this problem; show the people of the world that you deserve their trust," conclude the authors of the letter.

Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, billionaire, and businessman, has been raising his voice on this matter for many years. He claims that the capital gains tax and property tax should be raised, and the loopholes that allow wealthy people to avoid the latter should be eliminated. "I am aware that glaring inequalities are what separate the lucky from the unlucky worldwide, and the consequence of these inequalities is that I enjoy enormous privileges" - wrote Bill Gates on his blog. According to Gates, there should also be a tax on long-held substantial fortunes in the USA. He means the investments of very wealthy people who have held them for a long time.

The appropriation of billionaires' and millionaires' assets by a 5% global tax would allow 1.7 trillion dollars to be collected annually and help pull 2 billion people out of poverty - notes Oxfam.

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