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Photos of Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Warren Buffett and Michael Bloomberg. Photos, from left to right: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images; Hannibal Hanschke/Pool/Getty Images; Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage; Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The collective worth for the 25 richest Americans rose $401 billion from 2014 to 2018, but they only paid a total of $13.6 billion in federal income taxes, according to a ProPublica report based on confidential IRS tax data.

Why it matters: The analysis found that billionaires like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Warren Buffett and Michael Bloomberg "were able to benefit from a complex web of loopholes in the tax code," the New York Times notes.

How it works: ProPublica, using the IRS data, compared how much the 25 richest Americans paid in federal income taxes over those years to how much Forbes estimated their wealth grew in that same period.

Yes, but: They were able to pay so little in federal income tax largely because the value of their assets — like stock and property — grew but assets are not considered taxable income until they are sold.

  • But the billionaires also used other legal tactics, such as deductions, to reduce their payments.

By the numbers, according to tax data obtained by ProPublica:

  • Buffett's wealth grew by an estimated $24.3 billion between 2014 and 2018, and he paid $23.7 million in federal income taxes. His total income was $125 million.
  • Bezos’ wealth increased by an estimated $99 billion between those years, and he paid $973 million in federal taxes. His total income was $4.22 billion.
  • Bloomberg's wealth jumped by $22.5 billion, and he paid $292 million. His total income was $10 billion.
  • Musk's fortune rose $13.9 billion, and he paid $292 million. His total income was $1.52 billion.

Thought bubble, via Axios' chief financial correspondent Felix Salmon: It’s hardly surprising that billionaires paid no taxes on their unrealized capital gains, since unrealized capital gains are taxed as income nowhere in the world.

  • There will also now be a massive leak investigation, encompassing the IRS, the FBI and others. A lot of Washington seems to be much angrier about the leak than they are about the rather unsurprising revelations therein.
  • ProPublica did not say how it obtained the confidential tax data, but it was able to use it "with no conditions or conclusions."

IRS commissioner Charles Rettig told the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday that the service is currently investigating the origins of the report and said those who shared data in violation of law will be prosecuted.

The big picture: Though progressive Democrats like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) have pushed for legislation that would impose a new tax on the assets of America's wealthiest individuals, the Biden administration has focused on other tax reforms that would ensure that the wealthy pay more.

  • President Biden has proposed raising the corporate rate, imposing a global minimum tax on profits from foreign subsidiaries, taxing capital gains as regular income and unrealized capital gains at death, and returning the top individual rate for those making more than $400,000 to the pre-Trump rate of 39.6%.
  • Biden also wants $80 billion over 10 years for the IRS so it can close the gap between taxes owed and taxes paid.

Go deeper: Biden eyes 15% minimum corporate tax rate to pay for infrastructure

Go deeper

Sep 16, 2021 - Politics & Policy

White House fights for extra IRS funding

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Biden administration is aggressively defending its plan to invest $80 billion in the IRS to bring in an estimated $700 billion in new revenue, a memo obtained by Axios shows.

Why it matters: President Biden and his team view tax enforcement as one of the most politically palatable ways to help pay for their new spending plans, from universal preschool to free community college — especially in light of Republican criticism.

Updated Sep 3, 2021 - News

What Minnesota's biggest employers are offering for parental leave

Photo: Karen Bleier via Getty Images

Parental leave policies vary widely depending on which Minnesota organization you work for.

Axios Twin Cities polled some of the biggest employers in the metro's private sector to see what they offer.

  • Hint: It's good to sell Cheerios.

Why it matters: It's a job seekers' market and talented professionals planning a family will weigh the generosity of a company's parental leave policy in deciding to take a position.

Below are responses by company representatives, unless otherwise noted.

Note: If your company is missing from the list, drop us a line and we'll add it in. Some firms didn't respond or declined to respond to Axios.

3M Co. (14,065 Minnesota employees)

Mothers and fathers of newborn or newly adopted children are entitled to up to 20 weeks (10 weeks paid and 10 weeks unpaid) of parental leave in the U.S. This is a benefit that they are eligible for from the first day of employment.

Allina Health (28,751 Minnesota employees)

Allina recently announced a new paid caregiver policy that provides up to two weeks of paid time off each year for eligible staff to spend time caring for immediate family members having serious health issues or to care for and bond with a new child.

Ameriprise Financial (4,842 Minnesota employees)

Women who deliver a baby are eligible for 16 weeks of paid time off to care for their new child or children. Ameriprise offers a two-week paid parental leave to birth, adoptive and foster parents who have worked for the company for more than six months.

Best Buy Co. Inc. (9,000 Minnesota employees)

Best Buy provides up to six weeks of time off at 100% of base pay. It allows full-time benefits-eligible employees to take a leave of absence for their own medical condition, such as needing a surgery or for mental health, without an interruption in pay.

  • This is in addition to a caregiver pay benefit, which is four weeks of full pay for those who need to care for a spouse/domestic partner, parent, children under the age of 18, siblings, in-laws, grandchildren, grandparents and children 18 or older.
  • Best Buy has some other benefits, like $14,080 in adoption expense reimbursement and up to $10,000 lifetime for infertility treatments.
General Mills (3,000 Minnesota employees, per Biz Journal)

General Mills offers fully paid time off for new birth mothers for 18 to 20 weeks, and 12 weeks parental leave (for fathers, partners and adoptive parents).

Land O'Lakes (2,000 Minnesota employees)

Birth moms are eligible for a maternity leave of eight weeks, as well as four weeks of paid parental leave.

  • Four weeks of paid parental leave is also offered to all new adoptive and birth parents — a benefit that can be taken within one year of the birth or the adoption.
Medtronic (10,463 Minnesota employees)

Employees are eligible for up to 16 weeks of paid time away to care for a new child.

  • Six weeks of family leave can also be used to care for a parent, spouse, or child with a serious health condition, and for bereavement following the death of spouse/domestic partner, child or parent.
  • Birth mothers get another six to eight weeks fully paid.
  • Mothers who complete a healthy pregnancy program can get another two weeks paid.
  • Medtronic also offers reimbursement of $25,000 per child (up to $50,000) for adoption, surrogacy and third-party reproduction expenses.
Target (24,000 Minnesota employees)

Target in 2019 doubled its parental leave benefits, but did not specify how many weeks.

  • CNBC reported the new policy provides "up to four weeks paid time off annually to care for a newborn or sick family member. New moms at Target will get an additional six to eight weeks of paid maternity leave, too."
UnitedHealth Group (18,000 Minnesota employees)

UnitedHealth Group offers four weeks of paid parental leave following the birth of a child or adoption.

  • In addition, UHG offers an employer sponsored/paid short-term disability benefit, which is income replacement for maternity leave for six weeks, or eight weeks following a cesarean delivery. This benefit is 60% paid by UHG, and employees have the option to buy-up an additional 20% for an 80% benefit. This means employees can secure paid coverage for up to 10-12 weeks.
United Natural Foods Inc., including Cub Foods (8,781 Minnesota employees)

UNFI offers four weeks of paid parental leave for mothers and fathers, including adoption. It also offers one week of maternity disability leave or one week of paid adoption leave (for mothers and fathers). It offers five to seven weeks of short-term disability leave for birth mothers.

  • Of note: This is for non-union employees.
U.S. Bank (13,400 Minnesota employees)

Provides 13 weeks of paid leave (a combination of pregnancy disability leave and parental leave) to the birth parent and four weeks of paid parental leave to non-birth parents.

Wells Fargo (17,000 Minnesota employees)

Provides up to 16 weeks of paid leave for a primary caregiver, and up to four weeks for a parent who isn’t the primary caregiver, to care for a new child following birth or adoption. Eligibility begins after 12 months of service.

Xcel Energy (5,456 employees, according to the Biz Journal)

In addition to six to eight weeks of paid maternity leave, Xcel offers an additional four weeks of paid time off to help parents bond with their new child, whether through birth, adoption or fostering.

  • It also offers adoption assistance services, which reimburses employees for eligible expenses up to $2,000.

Declined: North Memorial, M Health Fairview, and Life Time Inc. declined to participate by the deadline.

  • Health Partners did not respond to Axios emails.

Of note: Axios offers 12 weeks of paid parental leave for a primary caregivers following the birth or adoption of a child. Secondary caregivers get four weeks.

36 mins ago - World

Taliban: Executions and strict punishments will return

Taliban fighters in Kabul. Photo: Oliver Weiken/picture alliance via Getty Images

Strict punishments such as hand amputations and executions will return in Afghanistan, one of the Taliban's founders said in an interview with the Associated Press.

Why it matters: Despite attempting to project a new image, the Taliban remain committed to a hard-line, conservative ideology, including harsh ruling tactics.