The revelation that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg plans to exercise $5 billion worth of stock options before his IPO suggests his 2012 tax bill could be close to $2 billion! See Zuckerberg’s 2012 personal income tax bill: $1.5B. If size matters, that will make Zuckerberg The Incredible Hulk of Taxpayers. After all, the 400 wealthiest filers only averaged $48 million in federal income taxes in 2009.
As for Warren Buffett with his 17% tax rate? A mere piker, he paid less than $7 million in federal income and payroll taxes in 2010. Surely a $3 billion after-tax take-home is nothing to complain about.
Robert W. Wood practices law with Wood LLP, in San Francisco. The author of more than 30 books, including Taxation of Damage Awards & Settlement Payments (4th Ed. 2009 with 2012 Supplement, Tax Institute), he can be reached at Wood@WoodLLP.com. This discussion is not intended as legal advice, and cannot be relied upon for any purpose without the services of a qualified professional.