A news website has obtained information purporting to illustrate how little income tax US billionaires pay.
The tax returns of some of the world's wealthiest people, including Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and Warren Buffett, have been reviewed by ProPublica.
According to the website, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos paid no taxes in 2007 and 2011, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk paid no taxes in 2018.
The leak was labeled "illegal" by a White House spokesperson, and the FBI and tax officials are looking into it.
ProPublica claimed it was analyzing a "huge quantity of Internal Revenue Service data" on billionaires' taxes and will reveal more information in the coming weeks.
While the accusations have yet to be verified, the purported leak comes at a time when there is increasing discussion about the amount of tax paid by the rich and growing inequality.
According to ProPublica, the wealthiest 25% of Americans pay less in taxes - an average of 15.8% of adjusted gross income - than the majority of US employees.
According to sources in the United States, Michael Bloomberg, a former mayor of New York whose tax information was among the records, stated the breach raised privacy issues and that he would pursue the source of the leak using "legal methods."
Budget cuts at the US Internal Revenue Service have harmed the agency's capacity to enforce tax regulations on the rich and major firms, according to ProPublica, an investigative news organization. The records were released in retaliation to these pieces, according to the news organization.
"Any unlawful publication of secret government material," according to White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, is prohibited.
The case has been submitted to the FBI, federal prosecutors, and two internal Treasury Department watchdogs, according to Treasury Department spokeswoman Lily Adams, who said in an emailed statement to Reuters that "all of whom have independent authority to investigate."
Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service of the United States, Charles Rettig, stated: "I'm sorry, but I'm unable to comment on particular taxpayers. I can confirm that the accusations that the source of the material in that piece was the Internal Revenue Service are being investigated."