The Waltons, the family behind the Walmart retail chain, are worth a combined wealth of $150 billion, but they are reportedly using a tax loophole created for charities to avoid estate taxes on some of those billions.
The richest family in the world has "donated" billions into charitable trusts, set up by themselves, since 2003.
According to court records and IRS data obtained by Bloomberg News, the family is using charitable trusts that are often called "Jackie O" trusts after Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who set up this type of trust in her will when she died in 1994.
In a "Jackie O" trust, a set amount is given away each year to charity, but at the end of the trust's time period (20 to 30 years) whatever is left goes to a beneficiary, the donor’s heirs, without any tax bill.
The Walton's 21 charitable trusts hold more than $9 billion, some of which has been used to help pay for the Walton Family Foundation's "charity" projects such as the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Ark.
"I hate to say it, but the very rich pay very little in gift and estate tax. At the Waltons’ numbers, the savings are unbelievable," said Jerome Hesch, a lawyer who reviewed some of the Walton family’s trust filings for Bloomberg News.
Source: Bloomberg News