IRS COMMISSIONER WARNS OF PROSECUTION
IRS commissioner warns of prosecution. After the release of the names of some of the wealthiest Americans, showing they paid little, or virtually no income tax, the IRS Commissioner promised an investigation into the source of the leak, and prosecution of the offender. The report, first obtained by Pro Publica, outlined that the wealthiest Americans were paying little or virtually no income tax at all. After the report, Steve Bannon, former Trump advisor said the system was rigged and called Americans “suckers” for falling for a rigged system. Under U.S. Law, it si a felony for an employee of the United States to leak a tax return or information about a tax return. IRS commissioner warns of prosecution.
“We do not know the identity of the source,” Pro Publica’s reporters wrote in their coverage. “We did not solicit the information they sent us.” Pro Publica’s team noted that it had gone to “considerable lengths” to ensure the information it received was accurate. Pro Publica’s reporters also noted that while federal law prohibits a person who receives a tax return or information about a tax return in an unauthorized way from publishing the information, they believe enforcing that law with respect to a story in the public interest would not be constitutional because they did not access the IRS records themselves or solicit them from another person.
Pro Publica’s reporters found that the richest 25 percent of Americans paid a true tax rate” of just 3.4% on wealth growth of $401 billion between 2014 and 2018. Pro Publica’s “true tax rate” is a measure of how much taxes an individual paid each year compared to how much their wealth grew during that same period, rather than compared to how much income they actually reported to the IRS. The “true tax rate” counts unrealized gains as taxable income (current tax law does not ). The IRS Commissioner said the leaker would be held accountable, if they ever found out who was responsible for the IRS data leak.