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Democrats consider raid on the rich with a 'patriot tax' 2.5% surcharge on wealthiest Americans 

The very richest Americans could be hit with bills for billions of dollars under plans being developed for a wealth tax by Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi, it emerged on Monday, which would see Amazon founder Jeff Bezos face paying almost ten billion dollars on his enormous wealth. 

Suozzi, who sits on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, is drafting what he called a 'patriot tax.'

It would impose one-time tax of 2.5% on wealth above $50 million and a 5% surcharge above $100 million.

At that rate, Bezos, the country's wealthiest person, would face a payment of almost ten billion dollars on his wealth of about $195 billion. 

That would force him to sell a chunk of his Amazon shares or other investments in order to generate the cash needed, although the proposal would allow him five years to pay off the bill.

The proposal comes amid growing pressure to develop new ways of ensuring billionaires pay their fare share after a report highlighted how clever accounting means they often pay federal income tax at lower rates than ordinary working families.

Plans being developed by Rep. Tom Suozzi for a 'patriot tax' on the wealthiest Americans would mean Amazon founder Jeff Bezos paying more than $9 billion and Tesla founder Elon Musk paying $7.7 billion

Pressure is growing for America's richest people to pay more tax after a ProPublica report revealed how many pay lower income tax rates than ordinary working families. Under the proposal, Microsoft founder Bill Gates would pay $6.3 billion and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg would pay $6.2 billion

How America's 10 richest residents would have to pay BILLIONS in surcharges under the Democrat's raid-on-the rich 'patriot tax' 

Plans developed by Rep. Tom Suozzi would mean a one-off payment of billions for the country's richest people:

1. Jeff Bezos, Amazon (total wealth $194.8 billion) - would pay $9.74 billion

2. Elon Musk, Tesla (total wealth $153.7 billion) - would pay $7.69 billion

3. Bill Gates, Microsoft (total wealth $126.8 billion) - would pay $6.34 billion

4. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook (total wealth $122.9 billion) - $6.15 billion

5. Larry Page, Google (total wealth $106.9 billion) - would pay $5.35 billion

6. Warren Buffet, Berkshire Hathaway (wealth $106.8 billion) - $5.34 billion

7. Larry Ellison, software (total wealth $105.9 billion) - would pay $5.30 billion

8. Sergey Brin, Google (total wealth $103.6 billion) - would pay $5.18 billion

9. Steve Ballmer, Microsoft (total worth $76.5 billion) - would pay $3.83 billion

10. Alice Walton, Walmart (total wealth $66.2 billion) - would pay $3.31 billion

Source - Forbes

Suozzi said his plan reflected how many wealthy Americans did well during the coronavirus crisis.

Paying a one-off tax would be 'a way to help your country to build back better' after the pandemic, he added.

'We all know that people who are wealthy did very well during the pandemic and people that were low-income people did not do well,' he told The Hill.

Suozzi has yet to introduce any legislation based on his idea and his proposal would undoubtedly face stiff opposition from Republicans and moderate Democrats.

But it shows how Democrats homing in on ways to generate more revenues to finance ambitious spending plans are considering a one-time wealth tax to ensure the richest Americans pay more.

Suozzi's office said the plan would raise about $450 billion.

The proposal would mean Elon Musk, founder of Tesla, whose fortune is estimated by Forbes to stand at $153.7 billion would pay $7.69 billion.

Democrats have frequently proposed taxes on wealth - rather than income - as a way of ironing out imbalances in society.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren proposed a version during the 2020 election but President Biden has steered away from the idea in favor of raising capital gains and income rates for big earner

But arguments for a wealth tax received a major boost last week with a report by ProPublica that demonstrated how America's wealthiest people are able to legally reduce their income tax bills.

Bezos's income tax bill was zero in 2007 and 2011, according to the non-profit investigative journalism organization.  

Tesla founder Elon Musk’s also paid no income tax 2018 while financier George Soros went three years in a row without paying any federal income tax.

ProPublica calculated what it described as the 'true tax rate' for the billionaires based on the amount they paid from 2014 to 2018 compared how much Forbes estimated their wealth had grown during that period.

Larry Page (left), whose fortune comes from Google, would pay $5.35 billion while Warren Buffett, of Berkshire Hathaway, would pay a fraction less at $5.34 billion

TAX DATA FOR RICHEST AMERICANS: 2014 to 2018 
Warren Buffett  
Year Total taxes paid Total income reported 
2014 $7.93 million $46.8 million 
2015 $1.85 million $11.6 million 
2016 $3.82 million $19.6 million 
2017 $4.75 million $22 million 
2018 $5.36 million $24.8 million 
Jeff Bezos   
Year Total taxes paid Total income reported 
2014 $85.4 million $367 million 
2015 $126 million $542 million 
2016 $320 million $1.35 billion 
2017 $398 million $1.68 billion 
2018 $43.5 million $284 million 
Elon Musk   
Year Total taxes paid Total income reported 
2014 $30.4 million $165 million 
2015 $78.5K $3.15 million 
2016 $42 million $1.34 billion 
2017 $73.7K $6.22 million 
2018 $8.41K $3.85 million 
Source: IRS DATA OBTAINED BY PROPUBLICA 

It found that the 25 richest Americans paid a lower rate than the average worker.

The median American household earned an average salary of about $70,000 and paid 14 percent in federal taxes per year.

In comparison, the richest 25 paid a true tax rate of 3.4 percent from 2014 to 2018 on wealth growth of $401 billion.

The White House acknowledged the need to do more in the wake of the report.

'Broadly speaking, we know that there is more to be done to ensure that corporations, individuals who are at the highest income, are paying more of their fair share, hence it's in the president's proposals, his budget, and part of how he's proposing to pay for his ideas,” said White House press secretary Jen Psaki.

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