WASHINGTON – A new report released by the U.S. Treasury Department on Wednesday stated that the wealthiest Americans have failed to pay the hundreds of billions of dollars in taxes they owe the government.
According to the report, last year, the top 1% of taxpayers did not pay about 163 billion U.S. dollars in taxes, accounting for about 28% of the total unpaid taxes of 600 billion U.S. dollars, while the top 5% of taxpayers’ unpaid taxes totaled 307 billion U.S. dollars. 53% of the total amount.
The Ministry of Finance called the total underpayment of US$600 billion “staggering”, equivalent to about 3% of the country’s nearly US$23 trillion in annual economic output. This amount is equal to all taxes paid by the lowest 90% of taxpayers in the country.
According to the report, the wealthiest taxpayers account for the largest portion of tax evasion because they have the financial resources to hire accountants and tax consultants to “help them avoid real income tax liabilities.”
It also stated that wealthy taxpayers usually receive “opaque” sources of income from business partnerships, sole proprietorships and rental income. In contrast, the federal income tax of most working Americans is deducted from regular salary and passed on to the government by the employer.
“The U.S. collects fewer taxes, accounting for [gross domestic product] Compared with most times in modern history, part of the reason is that the outstanding but uncollected taxes are so large,” Natasha Sarin of the Ministry of Finance wrote in the report.
“These unpaid taxes mean that policymakers must choose between increasing the deficit, reducing spending on important priorities, or increasing taxes further to make up for lost revenue-this can only be borne by compliant taxpayers,” she Write.
The authorities have long been aware of tax evasion by the wealthiest taxpayers in the United States, but legislative efforts to correct this problem have almost always failed.
President Joe Biden called for higher taxes on companies and individuals with annual income of more than $400,000 as part of his plan to expand the national social safety net through new spending to boost the economy. Perhaps more importantly, he hopes that the State Administration of Taxation, the country’s taxation agency, will strengthen the staffing of tax enforcement personnel.
But so far, some lawmakers, especially Republicans, have been reluctant to increase the number of staff in the tax agency. Congress is debating Biden’s $3.5 trillion social safety net proposal, in addition to a separate $1 trillion infrastructure spending legislation.
The fate of the proposal is uncertain.