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All hail Jeff Bezos the philanthropist! The rest of us will just keep paying our taxes

By Marina Hyde

15 Nov 2022 · 4 min read

Editor's Note

Jeff Bezos, Amazon's founder, recently announced he would be donating most of his wealthy to charitable causes. The news was received positively. But is the whole thing just a ploy to avoid taxes?

How bracing to wake up yesterday and read that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos had donated $100m to Dolly Parton’s charitable endeavours, at his own “Courage and Civility” event. (Sarcastic airquotes: my own.) The many, many news reports about this act suggested it was a truly incredible sum from the second richest man in the world, who – according to recent estimates – gets richer by about $205m a day.

Anyway, once I’d peeled myself off the ceiling, I got busy on the government’s tax calculator. If you’re on the median average UK salary – and you pay your taxes – your take-home pay is £72 a day. Looked at one way, then, Jeff’s benevolence would be the equivalent of donating £34.56 to charity. Have YOU ever donated thirty-four quid to charity? Do you pay your taxes? If so, you’re actually being more generous than Jeff Bezos, who, famously, avoids almost all of his. And yet, where’s YOUR splashy news write-up in all the fine news outlets of the world? Where’s YOUR fawning TV interview? Why does no one refer to YOU as a “philanthropist”?

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