What would a billionaire's income tax look like?

The President Joe Biden's fiscal 2023 budget proposal includes a "Billionaire Minimum Income tax" -- as part of his administration's efforts to reduce the federal debt over the next decade, and fund new spending. According to the White House, the proposal "eliminates inefficient sheltering income for decades or generations."

What would a billionaire's income tax look like?

Biden stated Monday that one-hundredths of 1% of Americans would be taxed during a press conference to highlight the budget. He stated that the minimum tax on billionaires is fair and raises $360 billion which can be used to reduce costs for families and reduce the deficit.

It is unclear whether Congress will approve the proposal, as the administration plans to tax the highest-earning citizens of the country.

Here's how it would look:


Budget proposals that households with incomes exceeding $100 million should pay at least 20% tax on income and "unrealized gain" - an increase in the value of unsold investments. Administration claims that the "true income", which can be kept on for many decades, sometimes even generations, is not subject to tax.

Biden's proposal would allow rich households to spread payments on unrealized gains over nine year, then for five years on any new income. The idea of spreading payments over several years is to smooth out annual fluctuations in investment income while still ensuring that only the richest pay a minimum 20% tax rate. The Billionaire Minimum Income Tax payments, in effect, are a prepayment of taxes these households will have to pay when they realize their gains.

This is a very nuanced policy. This tax targets the super wealthy. It taxes the gains they make from their wealth. However, it is real and unrealized income.

David Gamage, a tax professor at Indiana University, says that it is not a wealth tax. He said that "it's an income reform that does not include the true economic value" and can be kept for a long time.


The tax proposal would affect approximately 700 billionaires, according to the White House. They estimate that this group will increase their wealth by $1 trillion by 2021, pay roughly 8% in taxes, and have unrealized gains of about $1.5 trillion.

Biden stated Monday that teachers and firefighters pay more than twice the tax rate of a billionaire during Monday's press conference.

Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos are all well-known individuals who could see their earnings taxed under this proposal.


The White House estimates that $361 billion will be raised over the next 10 years. The budget proposal includes $1.4 trillion more revenue-raising measures, including a higher top rate of 39.6% for individuals and a 28% increase in corporate tax rates.


In recent years, tax avoidance has become a more prominent topic. Last June , a ProPublica report explained how wealthy Americans can legally pay income taxes only a fraction of the income tax they pay. A Pew Research Center survey from April last year found that most Americans - 59% - are concerned that wealthy individuals and corporations don't pay enough taxes.

A 2017 Gallup poll found that 66% of Americans think that people with higher incomes pay too little tax.


Donald Williamson, an accounting professor at American University in Washington said that "a few years ago, we would have laughed out loud." It's possible today.

Reconciliation is the best way to increase your chances of passing fiscal legislation. It involves a simple majority vote in the Senate.

This will require the support of Senator Joe Machin in West Virginia and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema in Arizona, who each opposed taxing the ultra-wealthy.

Steve Wamhoff is the director of tax policy for the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. He says that the Democrats have "this reconciliation vehicle that they could use that to pass legislation."

"This is a first step towards a more fair tax code."