Colorado Gov. Jared Polis used loopholes to avoid paying federal income taxes for years, ProPublica reports.
Polis, a Democrat who demanded former President Donald Trump release his tax returns while in Congress, broke with precedent and refused to release his tax returns when he was running for governor. But leaked tax records obtained by ProPublica show that he paid no federal taxes for years even though he is worth over $300 million.
Polis paid no federal income taxes between 2013 and 2015, according to the report.
His overall tax rate between 2010 and 2018 was just 8.2%, less than half of that for workers earning $45,000 per year.
Polis made his fortune from a virtual greeting card company his family founded in the 1990s. Polis used charitable donations to cut his tax bill and invested in businesses that “grow in value but produce minimal income,” according to the report.
“The Governor has paid every cent of taxes he owes, he has championed tax reform and tax fairness to fix this broken system for everybody, to report otherwise would be inaccurate,” a Polis spokesperson told ProPublica.
“His philanthropy is not and has never been motivated by receiving a tax write-off, and to state otherwise is not only inaccurate but fabricating motives and intent and cynical in its view of charity,” the spokesperson added.
Other pols too:
The ProPublica report also detailed tax avoidance strategies by other politicians.
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, a coal baron who appeared on the Forbes list of the richest Americans, “paid very little to no federal income taxes for almost every year since 2000,” according to the report.
California Rep. Darrell Issa pushed for a deduction to be included in the 2017 Trump tax cuts that helped him avoid millions in taxes.
Florida Sen. Rick Scott and former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos both used a loophole that allows the wealthy to avoid estate and gift taxes.
“They have the power to decide how much the rest of us pay and the power to spend the money, and then they’re not paying their fair share?” former White House ethics chief Richard Painter said. “That should be troubling to voters, both conservative and liberal. It should be troubling for everyone.”