How Much Tax Did Warren Buffet Really Pay?

I posted this in a comment, but here it is:

Warren Buffett says he paid only $7 million in taxes last year.   But, he fails to mention that he owns something like 23% of Berkshire Hathaway, and in 2010, Berkshire Hathaway’s income tax expense was $5.6B. 

Therefore, Warren Buffett’s…

  1. Todd
    Aaron Miller: Well said. A tax on a corporation is a tax on its workers. · Sep 20 at 12:47pm

    Well, on its owners…but I agree, some of it gets shifted to workers and customers. 

  2. Aaron Miller

    By worker, I meant both employers and employees. Most employers don’t just play golf all day.

  3. flownover
    Does ANYBODY care what Warren Buffet pays ? It’s like worrying about how well Tony Bennett sings.

    Pretty great-

  4. George Savage
    Todd: Therefore, Warren Buffett’s pro-rata share of Berkshire Hathaway’s income tax expense was more than one billion dollars.  ·

    Wow!  Since Buffett’s secretary pays more tax than he does, I’d wager she’s overpaid.  Or did the Obama stimulus just distort the Omaha wage market for administrative help in a most peculiar fashion?

  5. Chris Johnson

    All this ignores that the money he used to build his pool to invest with, before he bought my favorite shirt maker (from whom we may no longer buy shirts), was already taxed, at the income rate, not the capital gains rate.  He was already using after tax money to create hi behemoth, but has just gotten older and forgotten.

    That’s why I weary of paternalistic folks, as they age, that become squishes.  They worry about meeting their maker and listen to the propoganda.  They try to check every box they can, before passing away, but they never check with their younger selves.

  6. J.Voss
    flownover: Unrealized capital gains are not taxed. He cashed in some Berkshire stock, whatever his cost was versus the sell price is the capital gain. If he had sold about 450 shares and generated 46 million of funds for living, giving, and whatever , he paid 15% of the gain as it was longterm.

    Edited on Sep 20 at 02:05 pm

    While you are correct, I believe Todd was dividing the corporations taxes among its shareholders (Buffets 23%) to arrive at his amount of tax paid.  The capital gains are of course precisely as you say, not calculated until profit/loss is realized.

  7. Leslie Watkins

    Wonderful observation, CJ. You should meet my 93-year-old mother! By the way, did you hear what Tony Bennett said about 9/11? Same problem, in my opinion.

    CJRun: All this ignores that the money he used to build his pool to invest with, before he bought my favorite shirt maker (from whom we may no longer buy shirts), was already taxed, at the income rate, not the capital gains rate.  He was already using after tax money to create hi behemoth, but has just gotten older and forgotten.

    That’s why I weary of paternalistic folks, as they age, that become squishes.  They worry about meeting their maker and listen to the propoganda.  They try to check every box they can, before passing away, but they never check with their younger selves. · Sep 20 at 2:57pm

  8. Franco

    Wherever Buffett goes he should be asked why, if he really feels that way about taxes, he takes advantage of every tax break and pays not a penny more than required.by law.

    Instead of arguing that his secretary is taxed too much, he says he is taxed too little, yet has never volunteered any of his extra income to the US Treasury.

    If, as Buffett suggests, the tax code is so unfair, then he is guilty of profiting from unfairness when he is fully capable of leading by example, either by paying more to the government voluntarily or by paying his secretaries’ taxes for her, which he is easily capable of doing. In fact, he could pay every one of his personal employees taxes and not even notice.

    One of the great things that fantastic wealth provides is the ability to make your own world. Buffet isn’t content to make his own world, he wants to use government power to change everyone else’s world as he thinks things should be.

    I normally don’t begrudge peoples’ wealth – even fantastical wealth such as Buffett’s but this guy doesn’t deserve his money,  and he apparently would agree.

  9. Franco

    I heard that Buffett’s accountant, who is charged with finding every loophole imaginable in the Federal Tax Code to preserve Buffet’s mother-lode, also pays a higher rate. Sooooo unfair!

  10. cdor

     I am so tired of Warren Buffet and Henry Bloch. They are hypocrits and liars. Capital gains tax increases will hurt every productive American who has saved and invested for their future, so as not to be a burden on society. Everyone who has owned a business, reinvested and grown that business, employed the bulk of people in this country, will be slammed by those increases. Most fo them are not millionaires and billionaires. They are ordinary people whose lives will be affected negatively by tax increases. Taxes whose sole purpose is to pay for profligate spending by irresponsible politicians such as Obama (he who has created 4 trillion dollars of extra debt in his short 3 year Presidency). Why does nobody mention that any ordinary American has savings invested in equities whose cash out will represent a Capital Gains tax?

  11. Aaron Miller

    Well said. A tax on a corporation is a tax on its workers.

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