Billionaire left-wing financier George Soros gave millions of dollars to left-wing political campaigns, and billions to his own liberal foundation, in years when he paid no federal income tax.
On Tuesday, ProPublica, citing Internal Revenue Service documents, revealed that several of America’s richest people — Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, and Soros, among others — paid no federal income tax in certain years, as they claimed to have made net losses that offset gains.
Soros’s tax avoidance is among the most striking since he funds a vast array of left-wing groups, which generally share the belief that the rich should be taxed more to redistribute their wealth to the poor, and to fund government programs.
In 2007, Jeff Bezos, then a multibillionaire and now the world’s richest man, did not pay a penny in federal income taxes. He achieved the feat again in 2011. In 2018, Tesla founder Elon Musk, the second-richest person in the world, also paid no federal income taxes.
Michael Bloomberg managed to do the same in recent years. Billionaire investor Carl Icahn did it twice. George Soros paid no federal income tax three years in a row.
A spokesman for Soros said in a statement: “Between 2016 and 2018 George Soros lost money on his investments, therefore he did not owe federal income taxes in those years. Mr. Soros has long supported higher taxes for wealthy Americans.”
It is not clear exactly how Soros lost so much money. The stock market rose substantially between 2016 and 2018; at its high in 2018, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was over 70% higher than it had been at its lowest point in 2016.
Notably, however, Soros had plenty of money to donate to Democrats and left-wing causes that were organizing the so-called “Resistance” to President Donald Trump. It was in 2018 that Soros began spending millions of dollars to elect left-wing prosecutors across the nation; those contributions have helped shape nationwide efforts at criminal justice reform.
Moreover, in 2017, Soros gave a staggering $18 billion to his Open Society Foundations, which funds left-wing causes. The New York Times described it as “one of the largest transfers of wealth ever made by a private donor to a single foundation.” It may also have functioned as a tax shelter, allowing Soros to deduct money from his taxable income.
Soros, like many other Americans, evidently believed he could spend his own money more wisely than the government. As ProPublica notes, however, many Americans have seen their taxes rise more than their household wealth has grown
Democrats have chased Donald Trump’s tax returns for years, certain that he would be found to have paid no taxes. In 2020, during the presidential election, the Times reported Trump had paid no net federal income taxes in several years.